Teens Who Get In Trouble by Fighting Too Much

Every day in American schools, 200,000 children are physically attacked and 21,000 are raped or assaulted with a weapon. Between 8% and 10% of high school students carry guns to school every day. Every day there are 30 to 50 cases of school violence in a typical midsize high school, and half involve guns. One out of every three high school students has been involved in a physical fight, and one in nine needed medical treatment because of a fight.

Juvenile violence, fighting and bullying are so normal that one authority, Dr. Lois Flaherty, said, “it can be viewed as a symptom of an undercurrent of violence that is our basic cultural identity.”

Experts on juvenile violence have theories to explain why some teens act out aggressively. Children who have no fathers, who grow up in homes where they are physically and emotionally abused, neglected or punished by beatings, or who are exposed to community or family violence or substance abuse are more likely to become aggressive teens. One study found that physically abused children are two to three times more likely to be arrested as adults. Some experts point to “peer parenting,” arguing that teens have to be constantly “cool” and hide their emotions or vulnerabilities among each other, which leads to inappropriate expressions of anger. While some believe that violent media and video games make teens more violent, studies do not back up that contention.

Studies do back up the notion that certain children are born prone to violence. For example, the most aggressive teens usually have a long history of fighting and poor anger management that begins in preschool. One study of four-year-olds found that higher levels of testosterone lead to more dominant playground behaviors. Teens easily angered and impulsive are more likely to have lower levels of prolectin in their brains and to suffer from sleep problems. Another study linked aggression to unevenness in male brain structures and to the size of their amygdala.

Children with Attention Deficit Disorder are usually more likely to get into fights because they cannot “read” other people. They are impulsive and overreact to threats that may not even be real.

How can you tell if your teen is normal or if he or she has a real problem with aggression? Go through the following list of danger signs – if your child has more than three or four, he or she may have the potential for acting out in a violent way:

Frequent loss of temper over minor incidents;

Increased risk-taking and sensation seeking;

Increased abuse of alcohol and drugs;

Disregard for property;

Fascination with gangs, weapons and/or the occult;

Violent fantasies;

Scaring or hurting animals;

Taunting others;

Provoking conflicts;

Violent threats;

School failure;

Problems with school or legal authorities;

Easily frustrated and intolerant;

Poor impulse control and anger management.

This teen is often constantly in trouble with school authorities and making family life a nightmare. This teen is always angry and “flying off the handle” at little things. If this describes your child, you should see a psychologist or psychiatrist specializing in adolescents. Your child needs to be tested for disorders such as bipolar, Attention Deficit, Oppositional Defiant and other medical problems. Treatment may include medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, family counseling, anger management training, and substance abuse rehabilitation.