Every year, nearly one-million twelve to nineteen year olds are murdered robbed, or assaulted .
many by their peers and teenagers are more than twice as likely as adults to become the victims of violence. .
Although the problem is far too complex for any one solution, teaching young people conflict resolution .
skills, nonviolent techniques for resolving disputes seems to help. To reduce youth violence, conflict .
resolution skills should be taught to all children before they reach junior high school.
First and most important, young people need to learn nonviolent way of dealing with conflict. In a .
dangerous society where guns are readily available, many young teens feel they have no choice but to .
respond to an insult or an argument with violence. If they have grown up seeing family members and .
neighbors react to stress with verbal or physical violence, they may not know that other choices exist. .
Behavior like carrying a weapon or refusing to back down gives young people "the illusion of control," but .
what they desperately need is to learn real control for example, when provoked, learn to walk away.
Next, conflict resolution programs have been shown to reduce violent incidents and empower .
young people in a healthy way. Many programs and courses in Charlotte Mecklenburg are teaching teens .
and preteens to work through disagreements without violence. Tools include calmly telling one's own side .
of the story and listening to the other person without interrupting or blaming; skills that many adults don't .
have! Peer Mediation, a Charlotte Mecklenburg public school program, starts in middle school; it trains .
students to be mediators, helping peers find their own solutions to conflicts ranging from a fight over a boy .
or girl friend to interracial gang disputes.
Finally, although this appears as just a "Band-Aid" solution that does not address the root causes .
of teen violence: poverty, troubled families, bad schools, and drugs.