Animal Cruelty: Watching for the Signs of Teen Violence

Animal Cruelty: Watching for the Signs of Teen ViolenceAnimal Cruelty: Watching for the Signs of Teen Violence

You know that you need to show your kids right from wrong, and a great way to do that is by teaching compassion toward animals. Most American households have a furry friend or two. Most parents assume that their children will be kind to those pets. Teen kindness is common, but it isn’t always a given. If you see behavior that worries you, such as animal cruelty, it’s important to pay attention.

According to Psychology Today, any form of animal abuse could be a red flag for something much worse. Most children and teens will demonstrate a natural level of compassion for our furry friends, so if you notice cruel behavior, you don’t want to shrug it off. Without immediate professional help, a child who exhibits signs of animal cruelty could quickly go on to other acts of teen violence, including mass killings. Harshness toward animals could also indicate low teen self esteem.

Cases of Animal Abuse: Signs of a Cold-hearted Killer?

In 1997, a sophomore from Jackson, MI, shot a number of his classmates with a hunting rifle after stabbing his own mother to death. Police later found documents that accounted for the brutal killing of his pet dog. In a similar incident a year later, a teen from Springfield, OR, opened fire on his classmates after regularly bragging to friends about torturing animals.

Teaching Compassion: Watching for the Red Flags of Teen Violence

It’s always a good idea to begin teaching compassion from a young age. However, children with certain disorders might not respond to this teaching. Along with demonstrating that pets should be loved and respected same as humans, also keep a watchful eye on your kids when they are interacting with your pets without your direct supervision. Pay attention to how they act when they think you’re not paying attention, and listen to any concerns that are brought up. It’s possible that one of your other children might witness something disturbing. No parent wants to believe that one of their kids could do something awful, but if it happens, it’s better to stay open minded and get your child some help rather than remain in denial and allow something even worse to happen.

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Debra Beck


My Feet Aren't Ugly book by Debra Beck.

If you want your teen to be more understanding, check out my award winning book, My Feet Aren’t Ugly, A Girl’s Guide To Loving Herself From The Inside Out.

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