The Boston bombing has made me investigate the reasons behind young people killing. Increasingly in recent years people around the world have tried to make sense of a senseless mass murder. When the victims and perpetrators are teenagers the act is even harder to comprehend. Why would high school students murder their classmates and teachers? What do such events say about our society? some factors that I believe contribute to the current climate of violence.
- The easy availability of guns - Countries like United States has some of the most liberal gun laws in the world. While events like this have happened in other countries, only in America are the weapons easily available in quantity. In Jamaica guns cannot be purchased easily from a gun store but due to the high drugs trade and the greed for money teens gain access.
- The availability of information on explosives on the Internet - The Internet allows information to come into our living rooms that was once very difficult to obtain. We have always been able to go to the library and find some of this material. Today volumes of it is available in your home at the touch of a button. Some of the Online material is more detailed than anything you'd find at the library.
- The breakdown of the nuclear family - Rising divorce rates and the blending of families make it more difficult for children to have good role models for conflict resolution. Children learn from what they see, not what they hear.
- Violence on television and in movies - How many murders have you witnessed this week? If you've watched more than a few hours of television you have probably seen several. Violence adds excitement and increases ratings, but it also demonstrates behaviors that teenagers like to imitate.
- The breakdown of neighborhoods and communities - Too many teenagers gain pressure from drop outs or gangs in their communities to engage in violence for either power or to gain easy money. So lack of education and peer pressure plays a huge part.
- Healthy teen rebellion getting out of hand - One of the developmental tasks of the teenage years is to become your own person, partly through rebellion against your parents. As a parent it is often difficult to know when this rebellion is normal and when it has gotten out-of-hand. Keep the lines of communication open with your teenager. Consider family therapy if communication stops entirely during this period.
Teens will always form cliques and they will always rebel. One of the most important things that you, as a parent, can do is to talk with your teenager. Avoid lecturing, and be sure to listen to them at least as much as you talk. Younger children should be encouraged to be involved in organizations which aim to develop a sense of right and wrong. Avoid leaving children or teens unsupervised for long periods of time every day. Supervise their Internet access and continue to involve them in family activities and family vacations.
Other solutions may take more than just parents. Communities can increase their offerings of recreational activities. Empty school buildings can be used to offer evening and weekend events. Churches can re-think their youth programs and offer activities which are interesting and meaningful to teenagers. Although teen killings will never stop, it can be controlled.
In : People
Tags: boston bombing teen violence