Violence causes more injury and death in children, teenagers, and young adults than infectious disease, cancer, or birth defects.
There is no single explanation for the violence caused by youth. Many different things cause violent behavior in children. The more these things are present in a child's life, the more likely he or she is to commit an act of violence. Behavior will change depending on a child's age and gender. Violent behavior may be targeted at parents, other children, friends, or other family members.
Violent crimes include assault, rape, and robbery. Most violent crimes occur between friends or acquaintances or within families.
It's important to be alert to behavior changes. People usually give hints that they are considering violence toward other people, such as:
The possibility of teen violence also increases when the following factors are present in a teen's behavior over several weeks or months:
When you recognize warning signs of violent behavior in someone else, there are steps you can take. Don't count on someone else to deal with the situation. Taking action and telling someone who can help can prevent harm to yourself and others. It also will protect another teen with potentially violent behavior from making a mistake that will affect the rest of his or her life.
Parents can help protect teens from violent situations in the following ways:
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