Trying to Understand Youth Violence

When most parents think of youth violence, they think of the after-school fight between one student and another, over an issue involving those of low emotional intelligence. The reality is that bullying, mass school shootings and gang violence are inflicted and directed toward our youth on a random basis.  This aggressive behavior is the foundation for the one of the escalating problems that our youth are facing everyday. Youth between the ages of 12 and 24 have the highest risk of being victims of violence.

Violence, such as rape, assault, or murder, is an extreme form of aggression by one individual toward another. There are many causes and theories for the violence plaguing our youth. Many causes include frustration, violent media, domestic violence at home, drug abuse, and overall violent tension in the neighborhood.

Parents, teachers, officials, and the youth affected by the violence need be aware of the potential violence going on around them. Every year one out of every twelve high school students are injured or threatened with a weapon.

Youth between the ages of 12 and 24 have the highest risk of being victims of violence

Factors that contribute to violent behavior include:
* Low self esteem
* Victims of child abuse
* Drug and or alcohol abuse
* Access to weapons
* No parental guidance or monitoring
* Mental health issues

There are never simple answers to why our youth can become violent but there are a few reasons why they do:
* Violence as a learned behavior – they may have learned this at home and are acting out
* Retaliation – against one or many who they perceive have hurt them
* Jealousy – feeling of inadequacy and low self esteem can cause some youth to become fixated and feeling jealous of other individuals for what they perceive they have or what they want.
* Manipulation – a way to get what they want  and control others
* Expression – a way to release anger and frustration due to emotional immaturity

There is no simple cause for violence and there is no simple solution to stop the violence, but getting involved and educating your family and yourself is a great start.

About Elizabeth Rojas Brooks

Elizabeth Brooks completed her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Southern California, and is currently pursuing a Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology. Because of her own background, Beth has developed a level of compassion and understanding for the less fortunate, the wounded and the misunderstood. Her journey to recover from her own past has led her to pursue her passion – helping others who have had similar experiences. Beth’s goal is to work in the area of violence and abuse prevention and addiction recovery. She also has a special desire to assist our service men and women who are struggling with post-traumatic stress syndrome.

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