Violent teens may be emulating parents’ example

April 29th, 2012 - 3:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 29 (IANS) Teens who fight may be emulating adult relatives or have parents with aggressive attitudes, according to a new study led by an Indian origin researcher.

Rashmi Shetgiri, assistant professor of paediatrics at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre, says: “Parents and other adults in the family have a substantial influence on adolescents’ engagement in fighting. Interventions to prevent fighting, therefore, should involve parents and teens.”

Shetgiri and her colleagues conducted 12 focus groups with 65 middle and high school students to discuss why youths fight and how violence can be prevented, according to a Texas statement.

The discussions showed that parental attitudes toward fighting and parental role modelling of aggressive behaviour influence youth fighting. Family attitudes also may prevent youths from fighting.

Many Latino students, for example, noted that their parents condoned fighting only when physically attacked and said not wanting to hurt or embarrass their parents could prevent them from fighting.

Peers also can have a positive or negative influence on fighting by de-escalating situations or encouraging violence.

The conversations also revealed that non-fighters use various strategies to avoid confrontations such as walking away, ignoring insults or joking to diffuse tension.

Fighters, however, said they are unable to ignore insults and are aware of few other conflict-resolution methods.

These findings were presented Sunday at the Paediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston, US.

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