Thursday, October 15, 2009

Teen Violence

***Warning: This post may contain language that is considered offensive by some***

Is anyone else as highly disturbed by the extent of violent acts going on in our community as I am? Over the past couple of years, we have seen some really nasty incidents pop up, all over South Florida. From girls mercilessly beating another girl unconscious, the cat killer, the kid getting stabbed at Coral Gables High and now these kids who set another one on fire. Seriously, what the fuck is going on? Where are the parents, guardians, etc?

I know that many get offended when you trace these things back to the parents. They try to blame music, tv, movies, video games, whatever. But really? Who lets the kids have all these things? Where do they get the money to buy them? And what does it say about the family values, if a kid is so easily influenced by these things? Because I can tell you I have watched alot of violent movies, listened to some angry music and played video games. Both now and when I was a teenager, and I never thought it was acceptable to set another kid on fire. So I call bullshit on that argument. Sorry. Deal with it.

Now what I truly see to be the problem is lack of role models. Have you seen who your kids idolize? Miley Cyrus dances on strip poles at the teen choice awards, and all these pop singers talk about women as if they are nothing more than a two-bit whore. Do you really want your children to think that's acceptable? And I am talking about kids as young as 4 or 5. They may not really understand what it means now, but those catchy lyrics and dance moves will stay with them longer than you realize.

What are the schools doing to help? Well unfortunately with all the cuts they have been making, I am sure it's not so easy to mediate all these problems. And with continuous cuts that nonprofits are taking from donations and grants, those organizations that serve the at-risk kids are having to cut services and make their circle of service much, much smaller.

So what can you do? Well, other than accept that it is entirely possible that one of these terrible and disgusting acts of violence could be committed against your child, by your child, or witnessed by your child is the first step. The second is get involved. I have many friends and acquaintances who already do this with their child. Eventually their kids may be faced with a bad situation, but they will have the foundations to know right from wrong. If you see that your child has trouble adjusting, find out why. If they have alot of energy or build anger easily, for God's sake, put them in some sort of sport where they work it out in a disciplined environment.

If you don't have kids, but you have a little bit of free time, find out how you can get involved in these community organizations that serve at-risk communities. From Big Brothers Big Sisters to Girl Scouts, there are plenty of opportunities to mentor kids, serve as a role-model and help them build self esteem. Or find an organization who's mission you support and give them a donation.

It's getting pretty scary out there, and unless South Florida wants to start losing tourism again, over the fears of violence that we faced in the late 80s, early 90s, everyone has to step up to help make a difference. We have no other choice.


Tere said...

Oh, I agree with you: it's the parents. It starts and ends there.

Christina said...

It truly does. It makes me both sad and sick to my stomache that one of the mothers was like "well, my kid didn't know what he was doing. You know how kids are, he just wanted to see what happened."
Really? OMFG, what do you think will happen when you pour alcohol on a kid and set him on fire.

If my friends who are single mothers can find the time to spend with their child, after balancing work and everything else, then why can't these parents?

catsteevens said...

While it's horrible to say, but true, violence in our schools is nothing new. I think what is happening in our schools is an indication of our society as a whole.

Change is possible, I don't disagree there. But it takes real people with real desire for that change to take place.

Every parent is responsible for spreading peace. Peace within themselves and in their children. And hope that it trickles on to another child and another child.

And, YES, it is YOUR FAULT if your kid is a whacko and burns another child.