A paper presented at the recent 2012 Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting explored the link between the behavior of aggressive teenagers and that demonstrated by their parents. A series of focus groups with middle and high school students found that attitudes and behaviors of parents were highly influential in shaping the violent reaction to conflicts exhibited by their teenage children. Many of the youth involved in physical altercations (fighting) reported that family members had pro-fighting attitudes and (anecdotal) histories of altercations. Fighting teens tended to lack knowledge of, or positive perceptions for, alternative methods of conflict resolution.
This study offers up yet another piece of evidence for the use of family-centered, not merely youth-based, interventions to discuss strategies for coping with stress, addressing conflict, and non-aggressive ways to mediate issues both within the family and with external players.