7 Signs Your Teenager is at Risk for Violent Behavior

In the last week alone, four shootings/murders made headlines. They shared something shocking in common ? the alleged offender was a teenager.

  1. A teenager was arrested and charged with attempted murder in the shooting of five people at a club.
  2. Sentencing for a 16-year-old boy who admitted stabbing his mother 111 times was postponed.
  3. The first of four teenagers to be tried in the killing of a Chinese restaurant deliveryman was found guilty of first-degree murder.
  4. A teen in a middle school shoots two classmates, but is stopped by hero teacher.

Dr. Kathryn Seifert a youth and family violence and trauma expert who has over 30 years of experience believes that a recent study sheds light on the issue of teen violence. While some behavioral (aggressive) disorders have a biological base, they may also have roots in childhood maltreatment and in exposure to violence. The overlap between behavioral disorders and histories of childhood trauma is greater than has been previously recognized,? said Seifert. While not all traumatized children become aggressive, there are warning signs that can help parents determine if their child needs to get professional help.

Using recent studies, other scientific data, and 30 years of experience, Dr. Seifert has created 7 questions to determine if your teenager may be at risk of committing violent or aggressive behavior. The more questions to which you answer yes, the more likely it is that your child needs professional help. If the answer to 6 or 7 questions is ?yes?, then data shows that your teenager may be at risk of aggressive or violent behavior and needs immediate professional attention.

  1. Has your child or teen witnessed or been a victim of violence?
  2. Has the child in your care been abused, neglected or abandoned by a family member?
  3. Has your child been cruel to animals?
  4. Has your child had moderate to severe behavior problems (such as stealing, punching holes in walls, or staying out all night without permission) that began before the age of 13?
  5. When your child hurts or injures someone does he feel sorry he/she got caught, rather than sorry for the harm caused to his/her victim.
  6. In the past, has your child assaulted another person that was not in self-defense? (This is particularly important if it was a younger, weaker child or a parent, policeman, or teacher.)
  7. Has you child had severe learning and/or behavior problems in school for more than a year?

Dr. Seifert warns that although these questions can be easily answered, their answers should not be taken lightly. Adults and caregivers need to take immediate action to seek help for families and teens that have experienced traumatic experiences. Without professional help, such as counseling from organizations like Dr. Seifert?s firm, Eastern Shore Psychological Services, many teens may never get the help they need. And without help, a troubled teenager could become the next headline. With the proper interventions, youth violence is preventable.

Top Boarding Schools

You have questions... We have answers
  • Q: I read on the website that these schools offer family therapy, but how does that happen when the school is so far away?

    You will participate in the family therapy by phone, and when you come for your family visits, you will then do face to face family therapy.

  • Q: Why are most of these programs in Utah?

    The original Residential Treatment Center was opened in Utah, and they have been improving their system ever since. There is an entire state agency devoted to overseeing and regulating these programs. The other reason is that in Utah, the legal age is 18, so you can force your child to get treatment until they are 18. Legal age varies by state but there are an increasingly high number of states where the legal age is 17 even if you are still financially and physically responsible for them until they are 18.

    As long as your child is under the age of 18 and you have custody of your child, then your child does not have to go willingly. You can force them to go against their will for their benefit.

  • Q: If my child won't go willingly, how do I get them there?

    There are teen transport companies we contract with that are highly trained and they will come to your home and pick up your child. There job is to escort your child there safely! This takes away the worry and the fighting. There is an additional fee for this service.

  • Q: Does insurance cover the cost of treatment or boarding?

    Insurance plans vary so much that there is not a solid answer. You can find out what your coverage is by calling them directly and asking about your in-patient mental health benefits. In order for coverage, it has to be medically necessary, based on diagnosis and most insurance companies require a pre-authorization.