By Michael Hawton, MAPS.
We do not need another task force to determine why these young people are behaving anti-socially or to work out what we should do to remedy this problem. Yet another taskforce or commission assessing youth violence will arrive at pretty obvious solutions, one of which is sure to be a recommendation to intervene early before a teenagers’ behaviour gets this bad. This was a key outcome of the Royal Commission into Youth Detention so it is likely to be an outcome of any taskforce inquiry into this issue as well.
Socrates said as much:
“Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannise their teachers.”
Even so, this doesn’t mean though that the young people of today should be permitted to do anything they want.
It helps, of course, if we know what it takes to help young people to learn ‘frustration tolerance’, something which parents can be trained to do with the right parenting education.
Teenagers can also be helped to restrain themselves. To say otherwise is to say they are completely subject to ‘old’ brain impulses – and this is only probable where a teenager has suffered a brain injury. Impulse control is something parents can help with.
Suggesting another expensive taskforce to look into youth violence is often a solution we turn to when we want to be seen to be doing something. In this case, it is not necessary.
We already have good ways to help parents manage behaviour problems . But, we need to put funds into early intervention to stop latent misbehaviour reaching a flash point, such as we have seen reported in recent weeks.
Michael Hawton, MAPS, is the author of Engaging Adolescents (2017). His parenting books have sold over 60,0000 copies globally including in mainland China. He is a psychologist, a former teacher and father of two children.