Terrorism from Within
Yesterday, I was watching a program on teen violence. The expert said that in essentially every post-Columbine school attack, those responsible all cited Columbine as their inspiration. She also said unstable households are not the predictor of violence they once were. This makes sense, after I saw the Jamie Silvonik murder from too close a front seat. (Silvonik, a 13-year-old from a stable home, killed Mom when she wouldn’t approve of her daughter dating a 20-year-old.) More and more, I’m convinced that our children’s motivating environment is influenced far more heavily by friends, online information and other outside influences outside the home than what happens at home.
Today, we received news that two local high school teens were arrested last night by the police and FBI for potential threats of violence at school. We are never far enough away from it.
As a parent, I have heard too many parents say, “I’m setting my rules at home; what they do outside the home, I can’t control. If she strips into skimpy clothing after she leaves the house, or he sleeps with a girl randomly while on a date, I can’t prevent that.” I also hear denial in the face of problems: “my child wouldn’t do anything really wrong,” “my kid is just doing what everyone else is doing,” or, ” my kid is none of your business.”
It is our business. We cannot prevent everything, but every parent has to make the effort to control their children’s actions and influences outside the home. Now, I know the battle: trying to control a teen ‘s actions outside the home is an exhausting, frustrating, miserable and never-ending struggle. But we have to stay on it. We need to make the effort to check where they are, to call the parents where kids say they are going, to check teens for alcohol and drug use, and to penalize our kids when they objectively fail to live up to basic commitments or lie to us.
Why am I posting this here, on a 9/11 website? It is one thing to have to worry about terrorist attacks, an already sad reality for the 21st century. But when we have to fear terrorism from within, a problem endemic to our homes, our families, it is far more dangerous issue. And if you think your kid cannot be the problem, remember that the angry adolescent who didn’t fulfill his dream of a high school shooting spree may be the sociopathic adult sitting next to you at work.
Be part of the solution, not the problem.