Violence displayed by youth due to lack of skills in conflict management

Screengrab of a video where a pupil assaults teacher.
Screengrab of a video where a pupil assaults teacher.

I agree that the violence displayed by our youth is troubling, though it is also important to note that this violence is a reflection of what is happening in our society at large.

Teaching is different from what it used to be. Fifty years ago, the main disciplinary problems at school were running in halls, talking out of turn and chewing gum. Today's transgressions include physical violence, impoliteness and in some schools drug abuse, robbery, assault and murder. The result is that many teachers spend an inordinate amount of time and energy managing classroom conflicts.

As violence increases, pressure for safe and orderly schools increases.

Educators are asking: "Why is this violence occurring?" Three influences help answer this question: changing patterns of family and community life; how society has redefined violence as normal and acceptable; and easy access to weapons and drugs.

Today, children are more isolated from parents, extended family members and other adults than ever before. Divorce, abuse, poverty, drugs and other forces that interfere with healthy parenting disrupt families.

Family and community dynamics that once socialised young people into the norms of society are often nonexistent. No one is teaching children how to manage conflicts constructively.

Satish Dullay

Mayfair, Joburg

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