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Understand that your teen may have different goals in life.Try to support your teenager in his or her decisions.

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Children learn violent behaviors from their family and peers, as well as observe it in their neighborhoods and in the community at large.

These behaviors are reinforced by what youth see on television, on the Internet, in video games, movies, music videos, and what they hear in their music.

When children are disciplined with severe corporal punishment or verbal abuse, or when they are physically or sexually abused, or when they witness such behavior in their home, it is not surprising that they behave violently toward others.

Research studies have shown that violent behavior can be decreased or even prevented if these risk factors are significantly reduced or eliminated: Most importantly, efforts should be directed at dramatically decreasing the exposure of children and adolescents to violence in the home, community, and through the media.

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Teenagers need to feel that their friends, teachers, and parents respect and love them.

There are some things that parents can do help teens develop healthy self-esteem: – Avoid negativity. It is okay to correct your teen when he or she is wrong, but do so in a gentle manner, and accompany your critique with praise for some other activity that he or she is doing well. Let your teen know that you notice when he or she makes improvements in his or her activities and behaviors. They should be challenging goals but also goals that your teen can accomplish.

As long as your teen is not engaging in risky, damaging or illegal behavior, try to be supportive and encouraging. Invite your teen to share his or her ideas and opinions.

Listen respectfully, and encourage critical thinking. Be a model of civil discussion and teach your teen how to disagree without arguing. Physical activity helps increase one’s self-esteem. Encourage your teen to get regular exercise, either through activities at home or by participating in organized sports. Your teen does not need to be involved in everything, but one or two extra activities can really help improve self-esteem.

If there is a gun in your home, it must be kept out of reach of your children and their friends.

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