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Teen violence is common but preventable

A teenager with blue hair and glasses.

June 18, 2021—Nearly half of all teens experience violence at some point during adolescence, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These violent experiences can affect a child's emotional, mental and physical health. This is why it's vital for parents to understand more about teen violence and the steps they can take to reduce its impact.

Here are some key takeaways from the study:

Violence among teens isn't rare. The study found that 44% of all teens had at least one kind of violent experience during adolescence. These included:

  • Fights.
  • Bullying at school.
  • Sexual violence.
  • Being threatened with a weapon.

About 1 in 7 experienced two or more kinds of violence.

Girls and LGB teens are most at risk. Female students were much more likely to report more than one kind of violence. Lesbian, gay and bisexual students were at greater risk of experiencing three or more different types of violence.

Violent experiences have long-term health impacts. Experiencing violence as a child or teen can affect brain development and social skills. It's also linked to lower academic performance. And teens who encounter violence at home are at greater risk for a variety of chronic health problems as adults. These range from obesity to substance abuse disorders to depression.

Violence prevention steps can help. Teen violence is preventable—and there are some steps parents can take to help reduce the risk for their teens. For instance:

  • Talk with your teens about violence and ask how you can support them.
  • Look into local parenting programs to improve your skills.
  • See if your child's school offers programs that teach teens to navigate social and emotional challenges.
  • Make sure teens get the physical and mental health services they need.

Strong family relationships and support can give teens a solid foundation for a healthy future.

Read more about helping your LGBTQ child stay healthy.

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