To better understand
Violence is much more than just physically assaulting someone. It is defined as “any intentional demonstration of verbal, written, physical, psychological or sexual force with the objective to distress, injure, hurt, or oppresses a person by attacking their psychological or physical integrity or well-being, or their rights or property” (source: MEES, 2019).
The prevalence and severity of violence among teenagers cannot be denied. Whether it is online or offline, violence in the form of rumours or exclusion (indirect aggression) is just as bad as punches and threats (direct aggression). The many consequences of violence, especially bullying, on physical and mental health, well-being, and academic success are well known. They affect everyone involved, whether directly or indirectly: the victim, the perpetrator, the witnesses, and even family and friends.
As parents, we all want our teenagers to have equal, happy and respectful relationships. The development of social and emotional management skills, respect for others, and safe, caring environments are important factors that contribute to reducing violence.
Violence of any kind must never be tolerated.
• 38% of boys and 26 % of girls say they have experienced violence at school or on the way to school;
• At school or on the way to school, 28 % of teens have experienced verbal threats, 10 % physical aggression, 4 % aggression by gang members and 2 % taxing.
• La 6% of teens have experienced cyberbullying;
• Only one-quarter say they have never experienced or committed an act of violence;;
• 67 % of girls and 60 % of boys admit to having committed an indirect act of violence (talking behind someone’s back, excluding someone from the group, starting a rumour, etc.).
Want to learn more?
Check out our information sheets for more statistics, key facts, and solutions for families, schools, and communities.
To better support
- Discuss acts of violence when they occur and their repercussions with your teen. Remember that the victim, the perpetrator, and the witnesses can all be affected by acts of violence;
- Talk and behave in ways that encourage equality, respect and tolerance; avoid prejudices, stereotypes, and the use of violence.
- Clearly identify expected and unacceptable behaviours in all areas of your teen’s life (school, home, sports, leisure activities, social networks, etc.);
- Work with the school and other places frequented by your teen to prevent and address violence and bullying.
- If your teen is a victim, witness, or perpetrator of a violent act: Discuss the situation, contact the school, and seek help from a professional;
- Encourage your teen to speak out against violence;
- Help your teen strengthen their self-esteem (praise them, help them recognize their strengths and limitations, give them opportunities to succeed, etc.) and develop non-aggressive ways to manage their anger (relaxation and breathing techniques, withdrawing from the situation, impulse control exercises, physical activity, art, etc.).
- Promote and practice active listening, conflict management, and problem-solving at home (see our information sheet on conflict).
Active listening means listening to your teen, asking their opinion, giving them straightforward answers, and making sure you’ve understood them. For more information, see Mosaïk capsule no. 8, S’intéresser à son jeune, c’est l’écouter!
Do not tolerate violence of any kind: As the adult, you need to be able to recognize it, step in, and seek help.
Even though the number of teenagers experiencing violence has decreased in recent years, it is still a reality for too many. When it comes to violence, it is everybody’s business. There is zero tolerance!
Resources and practical tools
1. For support:
If you are dealing with a situation that has you worried, do not hesitate to reach out to a support worker or a health and social services professional:
Also see our En mode ado section on conflict:
If you fear for your teen’s or your own safety, call 911 or your local police department.
The police department can help you with cases of violence, bullying, preventing gang activity, delinquency, and other offences.
Latest updates : February 2020