Healthwise
To print: Use your web browser's print feature. Close this window after printing.

Violent Behavior in Children and Teens

Table of Contents


Topic Overview

Violence causes more injury and death in children, teenagers, and young adults than infectious disease, cancer, or birth defects.

There is no single explanation for the violence caused by youth. Many different things cause violent behavior in children. The more these things are present in a child's life, the more likely he or she is to commit an act of violence. Behavior will change depending on a child's age and gender. Violent behavior may be targeted at parents, other children, friends, or other family members.

Violent crimes include assault, rape, and robbery. Most violent crimes occur between friends or acquaintances or within families.

What are the warning signs for violent behavior?

It's important to be alert to behavior changes. People usually give hints that they are considering violence toward other people, such as:

The possibility of teen violence also increases when the following factors are present in a teen's behavior over several weeks or months:

What can you do if you are worried about someone's behavior?

When you recognize warning signs of violent behavior in someone else, there are steps you can take. Don't count on someone else to deal with the situation. Taking action and telling someone who can help can prevent harm to yourself and others. It also will protect another teen with potentially violent behavior from making a mistake that will affect the rest of his or her life.

How can you manage your own anger without becoming violent?

How can parents help teens?

Parents can help protect teens from violent situations in the following ways:


Credits for Violent Behavior in Children and Teens

Current as of: February 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Louis Pellegrino MD - Developmental Pediatrics


Note: The "printer friendly" document will not contain all the information available in the online document. Some information (e.g. cross-references to other topics, definitions or medical illustrations) is only available in the online version.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.