Teen Violence Prevention
Many students don't feel secure in their schools and parents are more worried about their safety than ever before.
School shootings have made national headlines and are part of a larger problem. In the last ten years, homicides and suicides among youths have more than doubled. The rate of death as a result of firearms among American children l5 years and younger is twelve times higher than it is in twenty-five other developed countries combined.
We must prevent this epidemic of violence from growing. School metal detectors, security guards and locker searches are not the answers. And conflict resolution and after-school activities are just the tip of the iceberg to the solution.
Parents must be cautious about movies, TV programs and video games with violent themes and ensure that guns are not accessible to children. But more must be done. In order to prevent violence we must understand how it starts. When a teen is involved in violence and killing, it is likely that they had violent tendencies much earlier in their lives.
Violent and aggressive behavior is learned early in life. Four to l0% of children and adolescents have severe behavior problems. These children are at increased risk for juvenile delinquency and adult criminality.
According to the National Institute of Justice Research :
Victims of child abuse are more likely to engage in criminality later in life
Over two-thirds (68%) of youths arrested have a prior history of abuse and neglect
Childhood abuse increases the odds of future delinquency and adult criminality by 40%
Abused and neglected youths are more likely to be arrested one year earlier, to commit twice as many offenses and to be arrested more frequently than youths who were not
abused or neglected
Earlier childhood sexual and physical abuse have been found to increase the risk of arrest
as a juvenile for being a runaway
We must also recognize the relationship between child abuse and neglect, delinquency and crime among children, harmful self infliction and parenting prevention.
Children can display individual temperament, reading deficits and cognitive delays, deviant peer group.
Families can display poverty, low parental education, high levels of stress, parental psychiatric illness, inconsistent and harsh discipline, family history of criminal behavior and substance abuse, marital discord, antisocial values.
Intervention is critical and must start with very young children before they enter school. Training parents of very young children has proved to be the most promising of the interventions and prevention programs and are currently taking place around the country. By preventing behavior problems, these programs work to change families at risk, teaching parents strategies based on social learning principles.
Parents learn parenting skills such as how to:
play with children
help children learn
prepare children for school
use praise and encouragement
set effective limits
access community resources and work with teachers and schools
By encouraging parents to anticipate and solve problems, they can prevent and manage future problems with their children on their own. Programs for younger children include additional emphasis on parent-child play experiences where positive parent-child interactions are promoted.
Parenting prevention programs can help to decrease juvenile delinquency, substance abuse and school dropouts and ultimately to keep kids safe and protected.
To find a parenting prevention program in your community contact your local hospitals, YWCA’s, your family pediatrician, Parents Anonymous or Love Our Children USA.
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