School is starting again, after the school shootings earlier this year and the increase of bullying. We are told bullying is often a reason for teenage violence at schools and we know it is not going away.  Let’s be honest,  safety and preventing teen violence is on our minds now more than ever.  Are our children safe?  Can we prevent school shootings? Do parents have  a role in prevention?

There’s always one thing that comes to the minds of most people when they hear about the occurrence of yet another school shooting. As the ones who have daily interaction with a troubled teen, many sadly blame the parents in the case of him/her harming others. They think how could the parents have possibly not known their child was on the verge of committing such heinous acts.

The reality is that no parent can imagine their child being involved in this type of violence.  But, when it comes down to it, parents of today’s teenagers need to be on the lookout for these telling signs of danger.

A Sudden Change of Personal Style

If your teen has recently shown interest in unusual clothing or accessories he/she had otherwise never been interested in, this might be a sign something is up. It’s especially important to take note if your troubled teen is wearing dark, baggy or layered clothing when it’s not exactly cool outside. This is because school shooters have been known to wear trench coats to conceal weapons.

An Obsession with Firearms/Weaponry

Another sign of a troubled teen about to act out is a newly found obsession with firearms and/or weaponry such as knives, bows, etc. If your teen has never been involved with a hunting lifestyle, this could be a red flag. If your teen also has a history of aggression, it’s best to report the behavior to local authorities so that a potential tragedy could be thwarted.

With school shootings on the rise, it’s up to communities to take action before another tragedy occurs. As the parent of a troubled teen, you’ll need to be proactive rather than reactive. There are innocent lives at stake, so these type of matters should always be taken seriously. It may be difficult for you to admit that your child is dangerous, but it’s better to be cautious than to wait for something bad to happen.  Intervention is the key to prevention.

According to the CDC, the risk factors below increase the likelihood that a teenager may be involved in a violent act, but these are not the direct cause of teen violence.

Individual Risk Factors
  • History of violent victimization
  • Attention deficits, hyperactivity or learning disorders
  • History of early aggressive behavior
  • Involvement with drugs, alcohol or tobacco
  • Low IQ
  • Poor behavioral control
  • Deficits in social cognitive or information-processing abilities
  • High emotional distress
  • History of treatment for emotional problems
  • Antisocial beliefs and attitudes
  • Exposure to violence and conflict in the family
Peer and Social Risk Factors
  • Association with delinquent peers
  • Involvement in gangs
  • Social rejection by peers
  • Lack of involvement in conventional activities
  • Poor academic performance
  • Low commitment to school and school failure

If you recognize some of these signs in your own child, it is time to take action to help your teenager.  To learn more about other ways you can prevent youth violence, click here to download this guide.   We invite you to explore our website to learn more or contact our admissions counselor to get more information or call us now.