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Parenting Your Teenager: Teens and Violence

I have a bit of a different response than most therapists to the often asked question:

"How can all this teen violence be happening?"

My questions are:

"How could this not be happening"

and

"Why doesn't it happen even more often?"

Here's what I mean by these questions - although there are many more factors involved, just consider these three:

1) kids listen to increasingly violent music, see increasingly violent movies and TV shows, and play increasingly violent video games. All of these without any focus on the real life, long term consequences of violence.

2) kids have more and more easy access to weapons that can maim and kill

3) more and more kids get no moral education, and walk around with an underdeveloped conscious at best, and at worst, no conscious at all.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist or a psychologist to get it that these three ingredients alone are a prescription for disaster.

Warning signs

No one really knows exactly why one kid will snap and another one won't. At the same time, here a few warning signs for parents and others to watch for:

a history and enjoyment of violent behavior

an inability to feel and/or show remorse

excessive fascination with violent video games and movies

easy access to weapons

little or no parental/adult supervision

little or no impulse control

recent rejections, disappointments or loss of hope

violent and/or suicidal thoughts, threats or other speech

the loss of someone close, either through death, a move, or a break up

a friend or someone they look up to taking a recent violent action

Again, it's important to remember that kid A could have most or all of these signs and become violent, while kid B could have the same signs and not go off. The most important question to answer, I believe, is what can we do to prevent this kind of stuff in our kids.

Here are a few suggestions:

Know your kid's world. I realize every parent thinks they know the world of their kid, but do you really? Do you know what kind of lyrics and music is going into their brains all day? Have you looked at the lyrics? Do you know what games they play, what movies they watch? Are you sure? The reason I am so adamant about this is I believe that if enough parents really knew what was going on out there, the stuff I hear every day, there would be some type of revolution.

In the words of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, "teach your children well." Teach them:

when someone is beaten up or severely hurt, it takes a long time to heal, physically and emotionally

when someone is killed, they are gone, do not come back, and people grieve their loss

if you get hit like guys get hit on TV wrestling, you don't get up, you go to the hospital

how to problem solve without violence

what to do with the anger and rage we all experience.

And last but not least, run, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of Stephen Glenn's book "Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World." In it you will find the results of Glenn's research into the problems of youth, the Significant Seven Factors that separate high risk kids from low risk kids and how to encourage them in your family.

Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

In The News:

Skygazers will be treated to the “super snow moon,” on Feb. 19, the largest supermoon of 2019.
In November 2016, astronomers watched a young star some 1,500 light-years away from Earth belch out an explosion of plasma and radiation that was roughly 10 billion times more powerful than any flare ever seen leaving Earth's sun. This sudden stellar eruption may be the most luminous known flare ever released by a young star — and it could help scientists better understand the still-murky process of star formation.
An audacious attempt to find explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance has been called off after the expedition team lost an undersea drone beneath Antarctic ice.
“Our wish is to fly this year,” NASA official Thomas Zurbuchen said at the surprise announcement of a new Moon mission overnight. “We want to incentive speed … We want to start taking shots on goal.”
Bones recently found in a Siberian cave have given researchers a new glimpse into the timeline of an extinct human species. The species – known as Denisovans – at one time lived alongside Neanderthals in the same cave, the evidence showed.
NASA's Opportunity Rover has died on Mars.
A rare 12th-century triple toilet seat will be going on display at a London museum later this year.
Ex-baseball player Jose Canseco has officially joined the group that believes "the truth is out there" and is on the hunt for UFOs and Bigfoot. 
MILAN (AP) — Archaeologists have discovered a fresco in an ancient Pompeii residence that portrays the mythological hunter Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection.
It’s a river unlike any in Australia — and a fortnight ago it barely existed.

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