Youth Violence Essay, Research Paper
Violence is a learned behavior. Children often experience violence for the first time in their lives in their homes or in the community. This first taste of violence may include their parents, family members or their friends. Studies have shown that children who witness violent acts, either as a victim or as a victimizer, are more likely to grow up to become involved in violence.
During our second weekend class, we talked specifically about violence and youth. For many young people who have already developed a pattern of violent behavior, the probability that this way of life will endure into their adult lives is very likely. I believe that aggression is often learned very early in a child’s life. For the growing trend in youth violence to subside, I assert that parents and many others must make every attempt to educate themselves and to implement methods that will reduce and ultimately prevent much of this violent behavior.
Parents most often play the greatest positive role in a child’s life by raising them in homes where they feel safe, secure and loved. These strong relationships that are developed early in life, give the children an ability to form warm, trusting and lasting alliances. Parents or other adult peers who present themselves as positive role models, may lay the foundation that is needed to enable the child to begin to build the cornerstones of his conscience and strong moral development. This will hopefully be the basis for a child’s ability to learn and use nonaggressive and more appropriate ways to solve problems.
Children have minds of their own. As they begin to mature, their newfound independence will sometimes lead them to misbehave in various ways. A parent’s patience(or lack of) as they interact daily with their children is crucial. Hitting, slapping or spanking a child as punishment often sends the message that it is okay to hit others to solve problems. A more productive approach may be to help the child figure out what they did wrong and show them how to learn from their mistakes. Kids need to understand the reasoning behind our rules and they need to feel that they can correct these mistakes if they do make them. No matter what the child has done, he needs to know that your love for him/her is unconditional.
It is vitally important for your children to witness the display of appropriate behaviors in the way you act, as well as other adults that are prominent in their lives. Children most often learn by example. They need structure in their lives including clear expectations for behaviors-theirs as well as others. It is important for parents to make rules and to stick to them. This will help children learn to act and behave in ways that are good for them and for others around them.
Parents should constantly strive for a safe, nonviolent home environment. This is especially true for aggressive arguments between parents and/or siblings. The amount of violence children see in the media should also be monitored and controlled. We should talk to children about the violence they see on television, in the movies, and in video games. If it is age appropriate, help them understand the implications in real life and the serious repercussions for violent behaviors. These are also good opportunities to let them think of nonaggressive ways to solve problems without violence. We must also teach our children to care for themselves when threatened by another person. Children need to believe that it is better to resist violence than to become a part of it. We must teach our children to accept and respect others regardless of race and ethnicity.
This has been a very brief and condensed summary of some of the priorities that all parents and adults need to consider. The extent of youth violence in our country did not develop in a short time frame and will not end in like manner. My hope is that many others will realize the efforts that need to be set forth by all adults in order to begin to change the future for our youth and the youth for generations to come.