What causes violence in children and teens? Violence toward children and teens. It seems too simple, there must be another explanation, I hear so many so-called professionals say. Even resorting to labeling the behavior as “mental illness” In some ways it is mental illness, but as a child abuse and child trafficking survivor who became a “violent” child. I'm here to tell you, it all comes down to being surrounded by harmful or incompetent adults, or both.
Let's start with the fact, infants are biologically, psychologically and emotionally incapable of self-regulating. Yet, we live in a “cry-it-out” style parenting world. Children learn by example, if you neglect their emotions and needs, they will feel abandoned and neglect themselves. If you don't teach a child how to appropriately manage their emotions, frustrations, fears, need for connection and human companionship, the child will feel helpless, fearful and angry. Without the tools to manage to meet their needs and manage their emotions, aggression, violence and manipulation often are the only tools they know.
Children literally have no power on this earth and most people only value them in theory, not in reality. If you, the adult, hasn't taught the child a productive way to cope, they will feel insecure, confused and frightened. Start with the problem, the child's behavior isn't the root of the problem, the adult(s) behavior is always the root of the problem.
It is NOT, the media, it is NOT music, it is NOT television or video games or anything else. Those things do not cause negative behavior. If parents were consistently available, consistently nurturing, good communicators and unconditionally loving and understanding, those types of input would have so much less impact. Medicating, incarcerating or the authoritarian corporal punishment are all an assault on innocent children.
It's hard to swallow I know, but most adults are terrible parents, because we were taught by terrible or at the very least ignorant parents. It's not something any of us are born knowing, not since the time when humans became completely disconnected from our natural place in the animal kingdom. Parenting is a skill that must be learned.
How can you expect your child, or any child to behave “acceptably” when you don't know how to demonstrate “acceptable” behavior? As painful as it is to admit, the way most people parent is destructive and abusive.
The first step to ending violence perpetrated by children, is to love and protect our children, to learn to be better humans, better parents and better communicators, to love them unconditionally and give them a safe place to call home.