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Helping Teens Manage Anger

Training to Help Teens Manage Anger And Resolve Conflicts Peacefully: P.E.A.C.E. Inc.
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Young People’s Perspective On The Tragedy in Tucson as they were asked the question:

“ What would you do to prevent something like this from happening to other young people?”

MZ-19- Mohegan Lake, N.Y,
thought for a minute and said that the quote, “ I wouldn’t say a single word to them. I would listen to what they had to say, and that ‘s something no one did” taken from an interview with Marilyn Manson, (punk rock singer, someone who many feel records songs that lead to violence, etc.), made in response to the question, ” If you were to talk directly to the kids at Columbine or the people in that community, what would you say to them if they were here right now?” was “a good thought.”

KD-17-Bronx, N.Y.
“If he had somebody to talk to, who he could trust, is something this young man felt may have prevented Jared Lee Loughner from shooting the congresswoman and the other innocent bystanders. When asked, What do you think anybody going through any of the stages he went through (girlfriend breaking up, dropping out of high school, getting into drugs, dissatisfaction with the government, having his question unanswered by Congresswoman Giffords), would prevent another person, not him, from really going off the deep end?” This young man replied, “A way to prevent that would be talking to somebody, before in your mind you speak to yourself, maybe you should express how you feel to somebody before you go ahead and take actions on your own”. When interviewer tried to sum up this young man’s opinion by relating that if he, a person had someone to speak to, who really listened, he had someone to really talk to this kind of stuff wouldn’t happen. To which KD replied, “Because he would have felt better after talking to somebody. That person might have calmed him down and spoken to him and guided him down the right path”.

JT-20-Long Island, N.Y.
-Early intervention, for this young woman was the key for preventing this kind of reaction from taking place in other young people. Her comment was “If you know someone and see they are distraught over something and may start down a bad path, that’s when you start intervening.”  In response to the question asking if you were someone’s friend what would you do, she described that a friend who might see someone unable to think properly, and if this kind of situation continued and seemed to be getting worse, she expressed the need for seeking professional help for that person. Regarding others who should get involved in a situation where someone is dropping out of school or seems really upset, this college student also felt that the administration of the school should get involved and try doing some kind of follow up.

KF-28-Brooklyn, N.Y.
This young man felt the route to, preventing such behavior from occurring or reoccurring rested in education.  He described having the system, (educational) being responsible for providing “ Tactics” or giving different kinds of information to parents. KF spoke of giving parents a better angle or perception of situations and signs to look for in high school or middle school students who may be dropping out. In other words, as this young man put it, “Catch signs of an unhappy or unstable person.” He also mentioned community centers and recreational centers being available to give youth places to go, giving them outlets so that they don’t go in a negative direction where they would end up doing something destructive. He also expressed the idea that laws should not be changed but, in his words, “Changing society itself” To him this meant people becoming more comfortable with themselves. This would involve society making changes that aren’t seen on paper, like laws, These would involve reaching out more to the youth.  He continued, seeing major cuts in education as not the way to go, adding  “These things are more likely to happen in uneducated people” He continued to describe that these days often both parents have to work, leaving no one there for kids when they get home. He added that because of this fact in today’s world it is easier for youth to go towards their friends, who are there and often do the wrong thing, engaging in negative activities, “Sometimes”, he pointed out,  “Young people go to others, who are not their friends, but who they think are cool.” The idea of positive peers was also mentioned to this student. He related having peer mentoring and peer conflict resolution when he went to public school, but he thought these have also are no longer there because of cuts, to which he added, “It comes down to dollars and cents and politics”.  Another point that KF made was that young people need to seek the right kind of help when they are thinking so many difficult (confusing) thoughts, and that they need to get these ideas out to someone who could help them understand what they were thinking before they became things that they did. In other words, act on negative thoughts.

At a point during this interview this young man also saw that admittedly its really helpful for people to catch early signs of destructive behavior, but also recognized that some people and incidents occur because some people, whether they go to Harvard or other places are just unstable, without anyone able to guess that this was the way they would act.

JS-21-Piermont, N.Y.
This young woman thought the way to prevent terrible acts of violence was through early intervention. One thing she related was that a person may be helped within the school district before he/she reaches the point of dropping out.  The first people she described that should be involved in early intervention should be parents. They should be aware of the direction their child is taking or thinking of going, for example thoughts of dropping out, as well as being aware of their needs. Schools should be aware of violent behavior in class, or if students’ grades are dropping significantly. Observation by parents, schools and teachers is something JS felt strongly about. She also felt teachers should also be aware that grades are dropping or a student is not going to class regularly. Teachers are the ones that could these students aside and try to find out what was going on, looking possibly to referring them to someone to help, like counselors. She added, the fact that teachers see the children every day, and that young people spend a good part of their day in school.  She also added that many times kids behave well in the home and act out in school or vice versa.  These are things that are often not known by school staff or the family. During the course of the interview JS was also asked, “What could friends do?” She responded by relating that a friend is, “ Hard pressed to help the another young person get counseling services” What she thought she could do as a friend was to listen to the other person, something she feels is really important and hear what a person has to say, adding, “Not so much giving advice” She then recommended going with them, if the friend thought it was something they were willing to do, in some cases, walking or driving a friend to a counselor’s office. She also described suggesting to friends who are going through something really difficult to write things down. JS remarked, “When something significant happens, write it down, because you don’t keep it in your head and are able write it down, look at it from different angles” This, she added,  “Calms your mind, because you see it on paper. On paper you may also be able to let go of it .T his way you don’t’ have to keep all your thoughts in your head”.

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