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Who Is To Blame For Violent Children?

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Children still deal with the same type of violence we did in school from a school bully to a misunderstanding on the playground. Some kids are just plain aggressive by nature. Others have been abused. Still others have low self esteem. To these children, violence is a quick way to get attention.

What complicates things is the glamorization of death in movies, books, television and video games. Note, I am not saying these are the only problem, but just a small part. A child is not really able to contemplate the reality of death. This is why children do things that are so risky, they feel invincible. The entertainment media just reinforces that belief when they see someone getting shot or stabbed and it is glossed over as just a body on the floor or grossly taken out of proportion to almost comedic death scenes. When death is painted as funny or no big deal to a child with these tendencies, life and death are meaningless.

Part of the complex situation with the media is the lack of instilling the values in the child. This should be a parent's job, but in American society the child is just as much raised by the media as they are their own parents. This is part of the problem - parents not being parents. One must learn from a very early age that all people have value and all people have feelings. This should be the job of the parent. Parents too often let the television raise their children. When children are not taught this or taught to degrade others who are different for whatever reason, they learn that people are disposable if they get in their way. To this type of child who has not learned empathy, if the object of their violence were hurt they cannot comprehend that they did wrong, but blame the victim.

Our society tends to have a "want it now" attitude and to hell with the consequences so as long as we get what we want. If someone is in your way, tear them down as expediently as possible. This also plays in with violent children who do not have the reasoning skills that tell them when they do whatever it takes to get what they want, it results in consequences for themselves and others.

Children need love and attention in order to build self esteem. They need to feel it from their parents. As a parent, if you notice your child starting to behave in antisocial ways from the age of 5, it is time to get some help before the problem becomes worse. Sometimes all that is needed is a change in parenting habits. Other times medication or counseling is required. When caught early enough, you should be able to avoid most problems in the future.

Lack of supervision is another key to violence among children. If you are not watching your child and they are not being watched by someone you trust, do you really know what your child is doing or to what he may be exposed? You may feel it is okay for a 12 year old to go to his friend's house even though the parents are not home. The question is do you know if their parents have a gun in their home. If they have a gun in the home, is it locked up? Does the kid know where the key and bullets are kept? Does this family have video tapes, games or other violent activities you would never let your child watch? If you don't know, then your child is not safe.

I will not debate the right of gun owners to have guns in general, but the fact is if you have children in your home having a gun is a very dangerous thing. Chances are greater the gun will be used to kill a member of the family or a friend than an intruder. This is just one of those things that a parent must consider for the sake and safety of your child. You may think your child does not know where your gun is or how to use it, but you may be surprised when they will find it.

Guns are not the only problem. If a kid wants to hurt someone they can use other methods that are more creative. When I was in second grade I was bullied by another boy who started to hit me. I clobbered him with my metal lunch box until some nuns broke it up. He needed stitches and I had a black eye and some cuts. With the Internet available to kids, they can make their own bombs. They can go the old fashioned route and use knives or razor blades. Outlawing guns will not solve the problem.

First and foremost, it starts with the parent from the day the child is born. A parent is responsible for their child until the age of 18. If a parent cannot control the child it is their duty to refer that child to someone who can help. It is the parent's job to instill values in the child, to know what their child is doing, to know how the child is feeling, what are their interests, who are their friends, how they do in school, if they do drugs, how their moods swing and so on.

Sometimes, a parent has done the best they could, but it seems the child just may be wired wrong. A parent who has done all they can for that type of child cannot be blamed for a bad seed. That is not to say they bare no responsibility altogether, but if they honestly tried everything to help and prevent problems and the system has failed them and the child, it becomes society's problem.

A child must also learn the world does not revolve around them. They must realize other people have the same rights as they do. They must learn how to get along with other people and learn how to cooperate. They must learn respect for themselves and others. They should also know that there will always be consequence for their actions.

A community must respect its children. Many places have a surprisingly hostile attitude to teenagers and pre-teens. These kids have nothing to do and no place to go. An idle child is a dangerous one. Not necessarily dangerous to the public, but more like to themselves. These kids need more community outreach programs. Caring adults without kids could spend time volunteering to supervise safe activities. Kids could use safe places to roller skate, dance, listen to music, or just hang out without being harassed by some cranky adult who can't trust those youngsters.

Local government should have more programs available for problem children. The fact is most parents with a problem child do not have the money or the resources available to help them with an out of control person. The system is mostly set up to do nothing until the child is in serious trouble and locked away in jail. If the legal system will not interfere unless a law is broken and cannot intervene, can we really be surprised when these children go off the deep end when it is too late?

Violence is all attitude. Erase the attitude leading to violence and the problem will decrease. Violence is human nature and will never completely go away, but we must learn to rise above the base tendencies.