Explosive temper tantrums, physical aggression, fighting, threats or attempts to hurt others (including homicidal thoughts), use of weapons, cruelty toward animals, fire setting, intentional destruction of property and vandalism are just some of the violent, dangerous and destructive behaviors that some children and adolescents show from time to time.
This is a very puzzling and confusing time both for the children and their parents. But there is still hope. Scientists, doctors, psychiatrists, and other professionals have pointed out factors that affect these behaviors. The factors are:
- Previous aggressive or violent behavior
- Being the victim of physical abuse and/or sexual abuse
- Exposure to violence in the home and/or community
- Genetic (family heredity) factors
- Exposure to violence in media (TV, movies, etc.)
- Use of drugs and/or alcohol
- Presence of firearms in home
- Combination of stressful family socioeconomic factors (poverty, severe deprivation, marital breakup, single parenting, unemployment, loss of support from extended family)
- Brain damage from head injury
- They have also pointed out some warning signs that parents should notice if their children have a high risk of violent behavior. Such factors signs include:
- Intense anger
- Frequent loss of temper or blow-ups
- Extreme irritability
- Extreme impulsiveness
- Becoming easily frustrated
Early treatment by a professional have been proven to be the most effective way to deal with these kinds of situations and conditions. Research studies have shown that violent behavior can be decreased or even prevented if the risk factors are significantly reduced or eliminated.
The goals of treatments and interventions typically focus on the following:
learn how to control his/her anger;
express anger and frustrations in appropriate ways be responsible for his/her actions
Family conflicts, school problems, and community issues are also addressed.