We need a national debate on gun violence perpetrated by boys ad young men. it must stop, and there is an answer. We need systemic change.
This latest shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Washington follows a pattern of young males committing gun violence at UC Santa Barbara, Seattle Pacific University, Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon, and Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.
“The conflux of modern behavioral phenomena – non-stop social media escalation and antagonism, with a huge increase in overall technology addictions – coupled with traditional factors of bullying and unrequited love can form a volatile environment,” Dr. Jantz says.
“But underlying all of this is a very troubling cultural trend that is producing disenfranchised and confused violent boys and young men. At their earliest, formative ages, we are condemning young boys’ behavior. The result is, as we are seeing in many of these boys, they reach their teenage and young adult years in massive confusion as to their identity and what are appropriate social norms. The tragic result is Marysville Pilchuck High School and so many other recent horrors and our hearts ache for the families affected. We truly are experiencing a crisis in our country.” Dr. Jantz continues.
Dr. Jantz points out these alarming statistics:
- 70% of D’s and F’s in school are given to boys
- 77% of expulsions are boys
- 80% of all disciplinary referrals are boys
- 67% of all children held back in class are boys
- 73% of children diagnosed with learning disabilities are boys
- 81% of suicides ages 10-19 are boys
- 80% of diagnosed behavioral disorders are boys
- 80% of children on Ritalin are boys (the U.S. consumes 80% of the world’s Ritalin)
- 89% of incarcerated youths age 15-17 are males
- 33% of men aged 22-34 live at home with parents, a 100% increase in 20 years. No such increase has occurred for women
Noting research conducted in his recent best-seller Raising Boys By Design, co-authored with brain science expert Michael Gurian, Dr. Jantz relayed, “We have created a culture that labels boys morally defective, hyper, undisciplined or ‘problem children’ when quite frequently the problem is not the boys but the family, our social environment, and our institutions that do not understand their specific needs and brain chemistry.”
“Limiting their natural development, and not understanding the difference in their brain make-up, has resulted in stunted behavioral growth. Condemning their actions during their early developmental years, and ending the discussion there, reinforces the message that their identity is confused and something for them to be ashamed of. Their resulting behavior can be shocking, as we are seeing.”
“We must have this important national debate now. There is a solution, but we must address it as a society.”
Dr. Jantz noted Michael Gurian’s chilling disclosure, “After almost two decades of working with boys and young men – in classrooms, in prisons, in community agencies, and in my therapy practice – my fear for them grows.”
Dr. Jantz emphasizes the importance of parents to discuss these violent tragedies with their children immediately. “We cannot let this trauma turn into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) where it stays with children long-term. They will always have the memory, but it cannot be a memory that harms them,” Dr. Jantz says.
For parents with school-aged children, breaching these sensitive conversations with their kids can be difficult. Dr. Jantz advises parents to let the children guide the conversation. He also advises to be cognizant of developmental age differences between children that affect their ability to process information.
“What a younger child can process is different than a person in high school or even junior high,” explains Dr. Jantz. “But we must deal with it. We need to make it a family discussion.”
In the wake of the recent school violence, Dr. Jantz believes that it is imperative for parents and mentors to understand how best to talk with children about these issues. If you or a loved one is struggling from the trauma or aftermath of school violence, the world-class team of professionals at The Center • A Place of HOPE is standing by to help. Seeking necessary medical help can prevent future issues of depression, anxiety and PTSD. Fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to get more information or to speak with a trauma specialist today.
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