Misconceptions About Youth Violence Essay

Youth Violence Essay

Violence in youth has increased drastically in children Canada since the 1980's; this is due to expectations, their status in society, and the media. Aggressive behavior and violent acts in youth has always existed. Over time acts of violence has not only increased but also the age of which violent behavior is beginning at a younger age. According to Peter J. Carrington crime is increasing and the offenders that are committing these crimes are beginning at the age sometimes as young as seven "in 1991, police- reported that youth crime in Canada has reached its highest level ever." (2001: 38) There are many answers as to why this is, however one of the main answers is the inequality of youth and the more they strive to be heard as years progress.

From when a child is born they are taught to listen to their parents until they are capable of being independent and supporting themselves. This places children beneath adults. Often this leads to children wanting to grow up, become independent and strive to be who their parents are. However, this is not possible because children are not equal to adults. Children are expected to obey parents and have a sense of independence. Society expects children to grow up faster and act like adults. However, not only do children adapt principles such as independence they as adapt behavior such as violence. They are expected to follow the principles of adult hood and parents only exact them to do the things that are good but when they act from the principles of adult hood and do the things that are bad it is not acceptable which causes conflict within the child. They are expected to behave like adults as long as they assume the responsibilities that will please their parents. When a child is unable to deal with the emotional conflict and not being able to deal with the every day stresses and expectations they may react in a violent way. The pressure of what is expected of them is too much. The expectations society has is that children will behave like adults but not the bad behavior this could become frustrating violence then becomes the answer to realize this anger and frustration. In the past children were expected to go to school and come home there were no demands for them to find jobs, and miss out on a huge part of their childhood. Acts of violence is a result of youth's lack of voice in today's society. The only way to be heard is to turn to drastic extremes. (add quotes)

The journal Children, Childhoods, and violence suggest that "Children absorb whichever culture they are born into by the simple experience of living it. Children in aggressive cultures become aggressive." (Korbin, Jill E; 2003: 437) Today youth are very much stereotyped by their culture, the...

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Myths Vs. Facts About Youth Violence

The Surgeon General’s report challenges a number of false notions and misinterpretations about youth violence and debunks myths about violence and violent youth.

Myth: The epidemic of violent behavior that marked the early 1990s is over, and young people – as well as the rest of society – are much safer today.

Fact: Although such key indicators of violence as arrest and victimization data clearly show significant reductions in violence since the peak of the epidemic in 1993, an equally important indicator warns against concluding that the problem is solved. Self-reports by youths reveal that involvement in some violent behaviors remains at 1993 levels.

Myth: Most future offenders can be identified in early childhood.

Fact: Exhibiting uncontrolled behavior or being diagnosed with a conduct disorder as a young child does not predetermine violence in adolescence. A majority of young people who become violent during their adolescent years were not highly aggressive or “out of control” in early childhood, and the majority of children with mental and behavioral disorders do not mature into violence.

Myth: Child abuse and neglect inevitably lead to violent behavior later in life.

Fact: Physical abuse and neglect are relatively weak predictors of violence. Most children who are abused or neglected will not become violent offenders during adolescence.

Myth: African American and Hispanic youths are more likely to become involved in violence than other racial or ethnic groups.

Fact: While there are racial and ethnic differences in homicide arrest rates, data from self-reports indicate that race and ethnicity have little bearing on the overall proportion of nonfatal violent behavior. There are also differences in the timing and continuity of violence over the life course, which account in part for the overrepresentation of these groups in U.S. jails and prisons.

Myth: A new, violent breed of young “super-predators” threatens the United States.

Fact: There is no evidence that young people involved in violence during the peak years of the early 1990s were more frequent or more vicious offenders than youths in earlier years. There is no scientific evidence to document the claim of increased seriousness or callousness.

Myth: Getting tough with juvenile offenders by trying them in adult criminal courts reduces the likelihood that they will commit more crimes.

Fact: Youths transferred to adult criminal court have significantly higher rates of re-offending and a greater likelihood of committing subsequent felonies than youths who remain in the juvenile justice system. They are also more likely to be victimized, physically and sexually.

Myth: Nothing works with respect to treating or preventing violent behavior.

Fact: A number of prevention and intervention programs that meet very high scientific standards of effectiveness have been identified.

Myth: In the 1990s, school violence affected mostly white students or students who attended suburban or rural schools.

Fact: African-American and Hispanic males attending large inner-city schools that serve very poor neighborhoods faced – and still face – the greatest risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of a violent act at school. This is true despite the recent series of multiple shootings in suburban, middle-class white schools.

Myth: Weapons-related injuries in schools have increased dramatically in the last five years.

Fact: Weapons-related injuries have not changed significantly in the past 20 years. Overall, schools – in comparison to other environments, including neighborhoods and homes – are relatively safe places for young people.

Myth: Most violent youths will end up being arrested for a violent crime.

Fact: Most youths involved in violent behavior will never be arrested for a violent crime

For School Administrators and Teachers:

1. Be attentive to the social climate in your schools and be honest about problems you see. According to kids’ own reports, bullying and drugs are the major problems they have to deal with at school, but these often are not acknowledged by the adults in the school system.

2. A wide variety of school based programs are very effective in dealing with problems including drug use, bullying and peer relations, and competence/skill?building.

3. Today, we can point to a lot of good news. Weapons carrying at school has dropped dramatically, and schools today are generally very safe when compared to other places where kids hang out.

4. The most critical risk factor for violence for your children is the behavior of their peers. Know who your students associate with and encourage healthy peer relationships.

Related Article: Mean Girls & Relational Aggression


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