It’s long been known that children pick up their emotional expression styles from their family. However, recent research has identified, more specifically, how certain family environments predict violent behavior in adolescence. The study, published in 2010 in the Turkish journal KURAM VE UYGULAMADA EGITIM BILIMLERI (Theory and Practice of Educational Sciences), explored the families of nonviolent and violent adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 and found several factors that differentiated between the two groups. Specifically, the families of violent adolescents had more difficulty managing family conflict and experienced more problems in communication. With regard to anger, the families of violent adolescents experienced more anger and expressed their anger in more maladaptive ways.
The study’s lead author, Raşit AVCI, said he was drawn toward the study because “the tendency towards violence is on increase among adolescents both at national and international levels in today's world…. A study which would be carried out on adolescent violent behavior would have some contributions to our conception of adolescents and help us control the risk factors.”
Dr. AVCI believes the take home message of the study is that “professionals working with children and adolescents need to understand the context in which the children and adolescents live…. Moreover, the professionals working with normal children can carry out works on protective factors (problem solving, communication) for family members and children and in this way, they can help to impart pro-social behaviors to the children.”
As for what this means to parents, Dr. AVCI says, “it is of great importance for family members to gain awareness of the types of behaviors directed to others because family members are always watching each other and learning from each other.”
By Ryan C. Martin