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Preventing Youth Violence

Violence has always existed in one form or another throughout time.  However, a disturbing trend happening in society today is that an alarming and rising amount of violence is being caused by our youth.  So much that there is now a week dedicated to it – April 16-22 is Youth Violence Prevention Week.

Where does youth violence begin and what can we do about it? Important questions for anyone with youth in their life.

Violent behavior rarely just comes out of nowhere. There are individual traits and/or environmental factors which can possibly contribute to youth violence.

Among the individual traits to look for include a history of aggressive behavior, antisocial behaviors, learning disorders, and early smoking, drug or alcohol use.

Researchers say that prolonged or repeated experiences of “toxic stress” can lead to a negative change in the development of the brain in children and teens – and this can lead to abhorrent or violent behavior. Toxic stress is like stress on steroids – powerful and consistent. This level of stress can be caused by a number of factors including inconsistent or nonexistent discipline, being bullied, consistently going between different homes and guardians, and/or a home life filled with violence or abuse – whether physical or mental.

So what can you do if you spot some of these risk factors? Here are a few suggestions

  • Try to create or promote a healthier home environment – healthier foods, conversations, and support

  • Connect youth to healthier outside influences – adult mentors, volunteer opportunities, sports, arts

  • Support and build confidence – involve them in activities, tutor/mentor, give compliments

We understand every case is unique and these are just general suggestions. However, awareness and taking even small positive steps is a great place to start to make a change.

If you need someone to talk through your situation, then please contact us. We would welcome the opportunity to talk with you. Go over to the contact page and fill out the form to send an email or schedule an appointment. Or give us a call at 234-466-6274.


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