Warning Signs and Destructive Youth Behavior
Earlier this summer, I was asked to review a copy of the book Warning Signs How to Protect Your Kids from Becoming Victims or Perpetrators of Violence and Aggression. Authored by Brian D. Johnson, PhD and Laurie D. Berdahl, MD, the book is geared to parents as well as to those who work with children and youth. I found the book to be very informative with copious amounts of practical and helpful advice on this timely topic. In fact, soon after reading the book, I began using data from the book in my keynote presentations.
Helpful Data on School Homicides
One example of information that I found to be helpful is data the authors provide from the Centers for Disease Control. This data indicates that 45% of homicides on K12 campuses involves interpersonal disputes. I have long seen a significant correlation between the number of fights in schools and the risk that a shooting or an edged weapons assault will occur. Steve Satterly’s Relative Risk of Death demonstrates that roughly 8% of all murders committed are committed by active shooters (for more of our research visit our resources page). The CDC data cited by the authors supports our concern that schools where active shooter efforts dominate the time, effort and funding for safety can be at greater risk for homicide. With 62 victims murdered on K12 campuses from 1998 to 2013, schools must not forget to also address the risks for the 92% of murders on K12 campuses that were not the result of active shooter events.
Practical Advice for Parents to Recognize Youth Risk Factors
The authors do an excellent job of providing parents with practical advice on recognizing patterns of behavior in children in youth that can indicate higher risk for aggression, victimization and suicide. They also follow through with realistic action steps that adults can take to reduce the risk of such negative outcomes. In an age where parents and youth service professionals are deeply concerned about violence by and against school-aged youth, the book provides tangible, helpful and practical action steps that are within the reach of parents and those who serve children and youth. I highly recommend Warning Signs: How to Protect Your Kids from Becoming Victims or Perpetrators of Violence and Aggression.