Tahlequah Daily Press


January 26, 2007

Violence among teen girls increasing


In addition to violence-saturated media, violent behavior among girls has also been attributed to problems at home.

The Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence concluded the roots of female teen violence are found in the early learning experiences in the family, including weak family bonding and ineffective monitoring and supervision.

Otteson believes girls are unaffected by what few consequences are meted out for violent behavior.

“What can happen? They get a juvenile record; big deal!” said Otteson. “They have to attend counseling; big deal! Their parents are contacted and asked to become involved; big deal! The worst-case scenario is that they are placed in detention, but we don’t have enough beds, and the kids don’t know that. As to the parents, we actually have parents who call and ask the state to take their kids because the kids are out of control, and the parents don’t want to deal with them any longer.”

Dr. Howard Spivak, director of the Tufts University Center for Children, told MSNBC parents need to pay more attention to how their children behave in social situations, and that bullying behavior often appears early in childhood.

According to Spivak, parents of girls should watch for these signs: declining performance in school and at after-school jobs, new friends who set off suspicions, and more time spent alone.

Above all, Spivak recommends parents talk to their children about issues concerning them.

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