What do you think is the cause of all the teen brutality?
Dr. Janet Taylor: A recent Office of Juvenile Justice report highlighted the fact that children in the United States are more likely to be exposed to violence and crime than adults. Huh? Yes. Juveniles and young adults ages 12 to 19 were more than twice as likely to be victims of violent crimes than the population as a whole.
The crazy thing is where the violence is happening. And you know what? It's everywhere. In Chicago, it's in the school yard and the violence is enveloping innocent bystanders. The recent heinous case in Florida is still hard to believe. Even though the perpetrators are juveniles, in my opinion, they are accountable and should be held responsible for their actions.
A question we have to ask as moms is: Are our kids more violent, and why? Is it nature or nurture? Certainly, there is a genetic component to violent acts and antisocial behavior. However, a much bigger factor lies in the nurture argument. Kids who grow up in homes where they witness domestic violence, live in poverty, and are subject to physical or sexual abuse are at risk for violence. Boys tend to be more involved in violent acts, but girls are not immune.
Exposure to violent video games, movies, or even music lyrics counts as an exposure to violence.
So, whose fault is it? Is it the media or Mommy or Daddy?
Listen, the blame lies with all of us. Our job as parents is to help our kids develop a conscience with a sense of morals, values, and beliefs. We do that by being good role models, having limits and consequences, spending time with our kids, and limiting their exposure to violence (including multimedia).
We all want to live in a peaceful society. What are you doing to make it happen?
|Dr. Janet Taylor is an Adult Psychiatrist in Private Practice in Chelsea (NYC). A consumer health strategist and certified life coach, her company, Mind Projects, Inc., specializes in corporate stress management and multicultural health strategies. Dr. Taylor has a column, "Ask Dr. Janet" in Family Circle magazine and is a frequent expert on national television. She lives with her husband and four daughters in Chappaqua, New York.|