Every day in our communities good kids make bad choices. As a crime and violence prevention consultant, I have compiled a list of 20 reasons as to why this is so. I have found that these reasons generally fall under the two general categories of loss of family or loss of community.
LOSS OF FAMILY
1. 50% of marriages end in divorce - 1 in 4 women in abusive relationships - Children learn behavior from adults.
2. Adult bullies: Mental abuse with put downs, insults, belittling, cursing, screaming and controlling without listening or guiding.
3. Physical abuse: hitting, whipping, slapping, kicking or sexual abuse of a child.
4. Bio-parents have authority to discipline and guide children, stepparents, boy friends or girl friends do not.
5. Emotional women (crying, pleading, begging) lose their authority with teens, especially boys.
6. Adults, who don’t listen, send a message… ”I don’t care.” Children become frustrated, lack self-confidence and may become socially isolated.
7. Neglect and abuse creates anger. Anger prevents emotional growth and a lack of self-awareness, which puts youth at risk.
8. Parents who can’t say NO, will experience resentment, anger and disrespect. They are teaching their child to be self-absorbed!
9. The neglect of a child's spirit: If adults fail to teach children about their awesome inner power and potential, they may not value themselves or others.
10. Bullies are emotionally “off-center” with a wounded spirit: This child uses intimidation and fear to gain power and control over others...and to hide their pain.
11. Pincushion kids (victims) are emotionally “off-center” with a wounded spirit: Shy, sensitive children may feel inadequate, suffer in silence and become easy targets. Bullies and victims are often attracted to each other.
12. Bullies and “Pincushion" kids (sensitive) lack healthy role models. Strong “centered” adults create a network of support, listen and stay calm when disciplining and guiding children.
13. Children lacking spiritual values and support do not discover a healthy balance between ego and spirit. Peers can become their teachers as they experiment with drugs, alcohol, sex or other self-destructive behaviors.
14. Youth, unable to cope or “fit in,” can become disconnected from family, friends and feel alone. They are likely candidates to dropout of school, join gangs or become addicted to drugs. Some may even runaway and become homeless.
LOSS OF COMMUNITY
15. The loss of neighborhood support creates more social isolation for families. Youth do not see neighbors as role models, mentors or problem solvers working together to keep their neighborhood safe for everyone.
16. Gangs, drugs and violence become a life style for alienated youth. Gangs use fear to control neighborhoods as they become role models for children. Rival gangs kill for power. (Primitive ego-driven tribal behavior) Note: Terrorist use the same tactics to gain power and control over others.
17. Violent movies, video games and TV reinforce the bully/victim behavior for disconnected youth. Sex and violence used to degrade and control women.
18. Easy access to drugs (escape from reality) and guns (power tool for youth disconnected from community).
19. The religious community has lost influence with many of today’s families due to scandals, corruption and the sexual abuse of children.
20. Religion, the foundation of a free society, has neglected to reach out and “Love thy Neighbor.” Working together…the religious community has the power to bring neighbors together, become role models for youth and create peaceful communities.
Every bully, delinquent, truant, abuse victim, drug dealer, gang member, and child struggling to grow up with drugs and/or domestic violence lives in somebody’s neighborhood.
By Stephanie L. Mann, Family and Neighborhoods Safety Consultant
Join “Safe Kids Now Mailing List" and learn what YOU can do to keep children safe. www.safekidsnow.com