Teen Boys and Violence

Dr. James Garbarino's book, Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them, has been called "an impressively well-researched, and thoughtful study of why some American boys become violent, even murderous."

Following is some information from the book.

Warning Signs

Factors that contribute to child violence among boys:

  • Child abuse
  • Involvement with gangs
  • Substance abuse
  • Carrying weapons
  • Previous arrests
  • Neurological problems
  • Difficulties at school

Violence Prevention

Factors that can save boys from a violent culture:

  • Prenatal care
  • Parent education
  • Early intervention to handle attachment problems
  • Early childhood education
  • Early intervention in cases of aggressive behavior
  • Violence-prevention programs in schools and the community
  • Character education
  • Using the positive power of peer groups


Quantifying violence in boys' lives:

  • Juvenile arrests for possession of weapons, aggravated assault, robbery, and murder rose more than 50 percent from 1987 to 1996.
  • While the overall youth-homicide rate dropped in 1997, the rate among small town and rural youth increased by 38 percent.
  • Children who are abused are more than 7 times likely to develop problems with aggression.
  • In 1997, 28 percent of adolescent boys reported carrying a gun, knife, or club.
  • In 1997, 20 percent of high-school-aged boys were in physical fights on school property.
  • Child abuse and neglect rose from 14 per 100,000 in 1986, to 23 per 100,000 in 1993.


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