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Preventing Parental Abuse – Warning Signs

Preventing Parental Abuse – Warning Signs

Preventing “Teen Violence”

Violent behaviour can be decreased or even prevented if these risk factors are significantly reduced or eliminated:
  • Being the victim of physical abuse and/or sexual abuse
  • Exposure to violence in the home and/or community
  • Exposure to violence in media (TV, movies, etc.)
  • Use of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Presence of firearms in home
  • Combination of stressful family socioeconomic factors (poverty, severe deprivation, marital breakup, single parenting, unemployment, loss of support from extended family)
  • Most importantly, efforts should be directed at dramatically decreasing the exposure of children and adolescents to violence in the home, community, and through the media.
  • As an individual is exposed to more risk factors, the probability that he or she will engage in violent behaviour increases. Clearly, violence leads to violence.
 Warning Signs
Get help quickly if your child is exhibiting these warning signs for potential violence:
  • threats of violence, either verbal or written
  • past violent or aggressive behaviour (including uncontrollable angry outbursts)
  • access to guns or other weapons
  • bringing a weapon to school
  • past suicide attempts or threats
  • family history of violent behaviour or suicide attempts
  • blaming others and/or unwilling to accept responsibility for one’s own actions
  • recent experience of humiliation, shame, loss, or rejection
  • bullying or intimidating peers or younger children
  • being a victim of abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, neglect)
  • witnessing abuse or violence in the home
  • themes of death or depression repeatedly evident in conversation, written expressions, reading selections, or artwork
  • preoccupation with themes and acts of violence in TV shows, movies, music, magazines, comics, books, video games, and Internet sites
  • mental illness, such as depression, mania, psychosis, or bipolar disorder
  • use of alcohol or illicit drugs
  • disciplinary problems at school or in the community (delinquent behaviour)
  • past destruction of property or vandalism
  • cruelty to animals
  • firesetting behaviour
  • poor peer relationships and/or social isolation
  • involvement with cults or gangs
  • little or no supervision or support from parents or other caring adult
  • a sense of entitlement — believing he/she should get what he/she wants at whatever expense
Typically, the greater the number of these warning signs present, the greater the risk. It is important to realize, however, that many children exhibit these warning signs and never resort to violence. Even so, these signs can be a cue that something is wrong, and your child needs help.
Get Help
If you are concerned about your child possibly committing violence, you need to arrange for him or her to be seen by a qualified mental health professional.
Look for a child/family mental health professional who is experienced in working with adolescents and their families.
 The goals of treatment typically focus on helping the teen to:
  • learn how to control anger
  • express anger and frustrations in appropriate ways
  • be responsible for his/her actions
  • accept consequences
  • address family conflicts, school problems, and community issues
  1. Teen Violence
Teen violence is real, and is a big part of a teenager’s life in the society we live in today. It can include things like dating someone who is violent, who slaps them around frequently, to other teens in school beating on them. Your child sees violence in their school everyday; many teens are using drugs and alcohol and become very depressed. This can be dangerous because they are not thinking clearly and may bring a gun or knife to school. If teen is in a bad enough state they could shoot other students or themselves, or maybe a teacher that they feel has been unfair to them. Depression can cause anyone to become violent especially a teenager.
Gang violence among teens is a growing concern; teens in this situation are subject to being shot at, stabbed, or beaten to death. Teens that are involved in gangs are more likely to commit a violent act towards another person, possibly even killing them. The longer a child lives in this type of environment, the more violent they may become.
Teens also see violence in their homes, they may see one parent beaten and abused by the other, and sometimes one of the parents may be guilty of beating their teen. Maybe the other parent is unaware of what is going on or is too afraid to do anything about it. This type of teen violence is not uncommon in today’s society.
Teen violence prevention
The best way to help prevent teen violence is by not allowing it in your home, treat each other, including your teen with respect and courtesy. By doing this you set good examples for your teen, these examples will help teach your teen how to treat others with respect. Talk to your teenager; let them know you understand there is a lot of violence surrounding them. Let your teen know you will be there, and be supportive if they ever need you. Try and stay a part of your teen’s life, and if you notice any odd behaviour, talk with your child letting them know you are there for them.
Teen violence statistics
Fifty percent of men who abuse their spouse will abuse their children. As sad as it sounds, three million children are at risk of being assaulted by a parent each year. A teen growing up with their mother being abused will more likely be a violent teenager and adult, than a teen that grows up in a loving home. Forty per cent of teenage girls have friends that have been a victim of some violent act. One in five high school girls has been in a violent relationship with a boy. Teen violence has been a problem for a long time but statistic show that this problem is growing and getting more violent each year. Understand that it is a serious problem and we need to not take it lightly.
What defines an “At-Risk” youth?
 Many social critics argue that today’s youth face more serious and critical risks than any previous generation. Parents are convinced that their children face a major crisis. Most experts will agree that violence in schools, deteriorating family structure, substance abuse, alarming media images, and gang activity put teens at risk.
Teenagers who have trouble coping with the stresses of life are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, engage in criminal activity, are sexually promiscuous, and attempt suicide. Many of these at-risk teens run away and eventually find themselves locked up in detention centers or living on the streets. If a teen is experiencing more than four of the following warning signs, they could be at risk.
  • Has the teen ever been suspended, expelled, been truant, or had their grades drop?
  • Is the teen verbally abusive?
  • Does the teen struggle with basic family rules and expectations?
  • Does the parent have difficulty getting the teen to do basic household chores and homework?
  • Has the teen had problems with the law?
  • Does the parent have to pick their words carefully when speaking to the teen, so as not to elicit a verbal attack or even rage from them?
  • Is the teen in danger of dropping out of high school?
  • Does the teen associate with a suspect peer group?
  • Has the teen lost interest in former productive activities, sports, hobbies, or childhood friends?
  • Has the teen ever displayed any evidence of suicide?
  • Does the teen seem depressed / withdrawn?
  • Does the teen ever display violent behaviour?
  • Is the teen sexually promiscuous?
  • Has the teen’s appearance or personal hygiene changed?
  • Is the teen deceitful and manipulative?
  • Has the teen been caught stealing money or personal items from their family?
  • Is the teen severely lacking in motivation?
  • Does the teen sometimes lie regarding their activities?
  • Does the teen display outbursts of temper?
  • Does the teen lack self-worth and self-esteem?
  • Does the teen defy established rules regardless of the consequences?
  • When trying to deal with the teen, do the parents feel powerless?
  • Does the teen have a problem with authority?
  • Do the parents suspect the teen is experimenting with drugs or alcohol?

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