A lot of parents worry about whether their child might grow up to be a violent person. The CDC reports that over 15% of high school students have carried a weapon before and almost as many teens report being threatened or hurt with a weapon. Some teens snap suddenly, but typically there are a lot of warning signs and symptoms before anything violent happens. Therapists who are experts in this area use these symptoms as diagnostic tools:

#1: Bullying Victim

Victims of bullying are at a higher risk for violence. The experience of bullying is an incredibly disempowering situation that creates a two-fold obsession with a) never wanting to feel powerless again and b) retaliation.

#2: Living in a Violent Home

It is a psychological fact that children learn behaviors by imitating the adults they see most often. Children who are exposed to violence in the home are far more likely to take these behaviors with them outside, to school or elsewhere. Violence in the home includes child abuse, domestic abuse, or even just parents who are in favor of violent resolution to conflict.

#3: Suffering from a Mental Health Issue

Right now, about 20% of teens have a mental disorder. The most common issues teens face are depression and anxiety which often lead to anger, frustration, and a sensation of powerlessness. These feelings can often give rise to violence in an attempt to remedy the unrest.

#4: Addiction

Drug and substance abuse is reaching critical levels in America among teens. As most people know, involvement in an addiction lifestyle is very closely related with violent behavior.

#5: Cruelty to Animals

There have been a number of studies which universally put forth evidence that those who abuse animals often graduate to committing violence against other people. The overwhelming majority of those who have been arrested for animal crimes are eventually also arrested for violence against people.

#6: Declining School Performance

A lot of educators believe that falling grades just mean that a kid is not trying hard enough, but this isn’t always the case. It can be a much more concerning sign of issues in the home or a learning disability. Both of these issues are linked to violence, so it is important to identify exactly what is causing a student’s grades to fall off.

#7: Gang Interest or Membership

It’s not exactly shocking to learn that youth gang members commit a great deal of crime, both violent and otherwise. In gang culture, violence is often a means to earn respect or show strength. As a result, teens who are a part of this lifestyle or interested in it are likely to be required to engage in some sort of violent behavior.

#8: Committing Non-Violent Crimes

Teens who commit crimes of any sort are more likely to eventually become violent. Non-violent crimes can serve as a sort of test run, preparing a teen for more serious things later.

Is your teenager showing one or more of the above symptoms? If they are, this is the time to act. Therapeutic boarding schools are one of the best solutions when your child is acting out and can prevent them from going down a much darker path than you would like for them. Get help today, time is a critical factor in violence among teenagers.