Violence begins at home‚ say experts

It should come as no surprise that youngsters have become perpetrators of vicious crimes in South Africa.

According to Ashley Jay‚ child psychologist‚ abusive environments make children defensive.
Picture: Gallo Images/iStock

Child psychologists say that violent behavior by minors begins at home‚ which may be why the country has witnessed a series of shocking crimes involving youths.

Four 14-year-olds are expected to appear in court on Monday in connection with the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl at a Bloemfontein school.

TimesLIVE also recently reported on a 17-year-old who was arrested in Limpopo for the murder of his 15-year-old girlfriend‚ who was found with wounds all over her body.

Police said they were investigating the possibility that the suspect had wanted to force the girl to abort a pregnancy.

“The collapse of the family unit frustrates children‚ it makes them anxious and defensive. Parents and elders must understand the impact neglect has on a child and their outlook on the world. Children become what their environment exposes them to‚” said child psychologist Jennifer Butler.

Butler said that society generally tolerates violence‚ and so does the family unit.

“The economy dictates too. Because parents work hard‚ they tend to forget to attend to [their children]. And there is often the issue of an identity crisis among children‚ resulting from family feuds and rejection from other learners in school‚ which can be frustrating for them‚” added Butler.

“There is a lot of access to content online and on television‚ they see it from the media and start to mimic. Domestic violence makes violence attractive to them‚” said Orit Grossman‚ a child psychologist.

Grossman said that social media makes young people feel “cool”‚ hence they sometimes post their violent behavior online.

“Parents must monitor their children and embark on anti-violence awareness campaigns in schools‚” she said

According to Ashley Jay‚ child psychologist‚ abusive environments make children defensive. Therefore they often become the victimiser in order to prevent becoming a victim.

“They come as victims already and they see it fit to fight those they can overpower‚” Jay said.



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