Kids are not born violent; they learn to throw rocks or break windows rather than handle their feelings in nondestructive ways. Read the Warning Signs: A New Guide Aimed at Preventing Youth Violence quotes Russ Newman, Ph.D., J.D., American Psychological Association executive director for professional practice.
"Violence is a learned behavior, Newman says in the article. And like any learned behavior, it can be changed. In order to do that, though, it is important to recognize the warning signs of violence and to get help before a violent act occurs." 1
Read the Warning Signs goes on to say that the American Psychological Association and MTV have developed a Warning Signs guide. The guide is intended to help young people recognize danger in classmates or friends. It also describes how young people can learn to notice and control thoughts and feelings that may lead to violence. The online article gives these examples of warning signs:
Losing temper on a daily basis
Significant vandalism or property damage
Increase in use of drugs or alcohol
Increase in risk-taking behavior
Enjoyment in hurting animals
Frequent physical fighting
Threatening to hurt others
"When you recognize the warning signs of violence in someone else, it is important to do something about it by getting help," Dr. Newman says in the online article. "Hoping that someone else will handle it is not a solution the risk for violent behavior won't go away by itself."
Free copies of the APA/MTV Warning Signs guide are available. Call 800.268.0078.
1. Read the Warning Signs: A New Guide Aimed at Preventing Youth Violence, American Psychological Association Practice Organization, 2006. http://www.apa.org/campaign/featurearticle.html
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