Youth violence has become a widespread concern for families and communities. Such violence has ranged from taunting behavior, such as bullying and fist fights, to more catastrophic events such as gun violence, sexual abuse, and even homicide. Today, it is reported that nearly half of the homicides that take place globally are carried out by children and young adults ranging in age from 10 – 29 years old. Many wonder what would cause such young and promising children to become so violent, and there are many reasons why this occurs. Before the problem can be solved, learning the risk factors or source of the problem is ideal:
Common Risk Factors Provoking Youth Violence
- Early Exposure to Violence or Abuse – When children are exposed to violence or abused at an early age, they begin to act out in the same fashion. This means that parents who are allowing their children to play violent video games or watch aggressive movies are essentially exposing their children to violence that is later reciprocated. Other examples would be for teens who have suffered physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
- Use of Alcohol and Drugs – Youth who are able to get their hands on drugs and alcohol are more likely to act in violence. There are plenty of reasons why teens turn to such substances, including peer pressure or as a means to escape real life. As an adult, you know that recreational drugs and alcohol can have an adverse affect on your behavior, whereas youth are not aware of this and are unable to control the changing emotions.
- Extreme Family Changes – Teens and young children who have gone through a significant family dynamic change are more likely to act out in a violent way. For instance, when parents go through divorce or separation, or when your child has lost someone very close to them in the family, such as a grandparent.
- Lack of Parental Guidance – When parents are too lax in their discipline, children are able to do as they please. This, in turn, means that they are making adult decisions on their own. They might center themselves around teens that are troublesome, get bored from lack of attention and act out, and begin doing things in a violent manner to get the attention they need from their families.
These are just a few of the facts about youth violence around the world today. If you have or are aware of a teen that is acting out negatively, providing them with the support they need is very essential.