We are occasionally reminded by the horrors of violence in teenagers. We might hear or read about teen violence in the news, such as school shooting, bullying incidents, and teen brawls. A lot of parents shy away from these alarming stories; however, many of us feel powerless to do something about it which is becoming more and more common these days.
Youth violence may involve bullying, intimidation, sexual and physical violence, and so on. This behavior is present between ten to twenty-four year-old adolescents, but the patterns that lead to young violence usually begins in a much earlier stage in childhood. Youth violence can result to serious consequences, for both the juvenile perpetrator and the victims.
Violence In Teens: Understanding Youth Violence
Youth violence is violence between young adults or teens, which includes fighting, bullying, and threatening. These behaviors and actions can escalate and eventually lead to serious consequences. For instance, the teenager can get into a brawl and get arrested for assault and battery. According to studies, about 33% of high school students had been in a fight in the last year, and 25% of teens had experienced bullying every year. Some teenagers may also get involved in gang fights which can lead to homicide and murder. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that an average of 15 young adults is killed each day, and every year, about 750,000 teenagers are treated in the hospital for violence-related injuries.
These numbers are very alarming; thus, it is crucial for parents to be aware of the risk factors that can increase the chances of their teens being involved in violence. Some of the warning signs to look out for include:
- Excessive alcohol drinking, and the use of illegal substances
- Injuring animals or other people
- Exposure to violence through various forms of media, such as in games and movies
- Poor school performance due to learning disorders
- Risky or illegal behaviors
- Not respecting other people’s rights
- Violent behavior at home
- Anger issues
These factors are not the main cause of violence in teens, but it can generally put teenagers in situations wherein they are more likely to be juvenile offenders or victims.
What You Can Do About Teen Violence
Prevention of teen violence is essential in preventing further consequences that might eventually land the juvenile in jail. As a parent, you play a huge role in developing their behavior, and in guiding their actions. The prevention of teen violence must start at home. Here are some tips on how you can prevent teen violence from escalating.
Talk to your child. It is vital to establish proper communication between you and your child. Talk to your teen and listen to what he/she has to say. You must show that your care for and love them. Do not criticize their actions and behavior, and if possible avoid shouting at or demeaning them.
Praise good behavior. Most teens seek attention, especially from their parents. Teens initially seek approval of their parents; thus, providing positive attention and praising good behavior can go a long way in preventing teen violence.
Set a good example. Children learn by example; hence, you have to present yourself in a respectful manner, and avoid turning to violence. You must also tell your child that violence is not the solution to any problem, and make your teen understand the legal consequences of violent behaviors. You can also teach your teen various ways on how to cope, such as humor, compromises, or ignoring the people who bother them.
If your teen’s violent behavior is a lot more serious, you can seek professional help by taking them to counseling. Your teen must be able to express their feelings and emotions, such as anger and distress, in a less dangerous and destructive manner. Early prevention and proper guidance can help you keep your teen from developing violent behaviors.
Kris Lim is a mother who is very alarmed with the increasing rate of youth violence; thus, she finds ways on how to address violent behaviors in teens. She also offers her advice and tips regarding youth violence for Massachusetts criminal defense attorneys and law firms such as Elliot Savitz Law.