How to Prevent Violence Among Adolescents
When violent situations occur, it's not uncommon to see adolescents involved, whether they're the victims or the aggressors. It's within their family, social and academic environments where their behavior becomes conditioned. Therefore, recognizing the risk factors can help to avoid the problem of violence among adolescents.
During adolescence, the dangers that violent conduct among teens involves comes to light. It’s important that parents put strategies in place to help prevent violence among adolescents.
Having violent conduct is harmful during any stage of life. However, during adolescence it’s particularly complicated. This is due to the fact that, in this stage, youth are just starting to form their character. They aren’t yet totally conscious of the dangers they may be exposed to.
Causes of violence among adolescents
The risk factors that can contribute to juvenile violence, and that may be out of your control, include the following:
Within the family
At a very young age, children may already witness or be victims of the violent conduct of their parents.
For example, they may receive severe punishments or experience the rejection or lack of affection of their parents. At the same time, family disintegration can be another catalyst for these kinds of problems.
Among the causes that provoke violence at school, we can highlight the following:
- Being the victim of bullying by another classmate.
- Frequent absence from school.
- Demonstrating aggressive conduct or, on the other hand, being very introverted.
- Having learning difficulties or getting bad grades.
What is a violent youth like?
In general, adolescents with violent conducts have the following characteristics:
- Persist in harassing and provoking children of their own age, or that are younger.
- Have participated in some delinquent activity, resulting in having been arrested before the age of 14.
- Abuse of alcohol and drugs.
- Have received professional help for emotional and mental problems.
The consequences of violence among adolescents
The most evident consequences of youth that have been victims of teen violence generally manifest themselves on a psychological level. This psychological imbalance translates into social isolation, depression, suicidal thoughts and anxiety disorders.
Other consequences include: low school performance, breakdown of the family, premature death, sexual promiscuity and the absence of moral values.
Strategies to help prevent violence among adolescence
Avoiding violence among teenagers is especially difficult. This is a stage in which youth try to carry out a sort of separation from their moms and dads. Despite this, there are strategies that parents can utilize to prevent teen violence:
Observe if your son or daughter has had violent conducts since childhood, especially after age 10. In this case, take pertinent measures to discourage the development of a violent personality.
“ Youth are just starting to form their character. They aren’t yet totally conscious of the dangers they may be exposed to”
Show love and affection
Showing love and affection to children helps them feel loved and safe. In these circumstances, it’s less likely that they’ll manifest a violent attitude.
Emotionally involve yourself with your teen
To help children’s development, it’s important you not only explain what they’ve done wrong. Rather, you also need to put yourself in their shoes. Working with empathy will help to reduce violent behaviors towards others.
The heath and security of children is the responsibility of their parents. Therefore, you need to know who your children are spending time with and what they do together.
This will give you the peace of mind of knowing what your children do when they aren’t at home. Of course, you should still respect their privacy and independence. If you act like a shadow, your children will only push you away.
Establish clear rules
Children need to have rules to follow, but during adolescence, parents and children can do some negotiating. To prevent violence among adolescents, it’s important to maintain discipline. Doing so will contribute to the healthy development of your children.
Do different activities
You can keep teens away from violence by involving them in some sort of team sport. In this type of sport, participants release tension and learn to obey rules. They must also adapt and be part of a peer group.
Another alternative for preventing teen violence is to motivate them to do community service.
There are associations and organizations that are willing to receive teens who want to help out. These opportunities teach children how to work as a team and follow rules, and instill positive values that last a lifetime.
If a child is being a victim of bullying, take action and notify teachers and school authorities. Get involved in your children’s education. You should also guarantee that the issue doesn’t continue.
If the bullying has been going on for some time, you may want to consider changing your child to another school. That way, he or she can establish a new reputation without being labeled.
Prohibit drugs and alcohol
It’s important to keep an eye on your children to assure they aren’t abusing alcohol or drugs of any sort. The bad habits may cause them to become unconscious of their actions in many situations. As a result, violent situations become much more likely and frequent.
As a mother, the development of your teenage children is your responsibility. Therefore, you should act upon any sign that endangers their well-being or the well-being of those around them.