Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Parent to Parent: Talk to Kids about Violence
The brutal beating of a Broward County girl has parents across South Florida worried and wondering, How do you talk to your kids about that kind of violence? Dr. Valerie Goode has tips. 7's Lynn Martinez has more in Parent to Parent.
WSVN -- Thirteen-year-old Tyler loves playing guitar. Getting hurt at school is the last thing on his mind.
Tyler Knutt: "It doesn't scare me that much, because my school isn't that violent."
But his mom, Mari, is concerned.
Mari Knutt: "It scares me because I think, where does this come from? Where does this rage and the anger come from?"
It's a question many parents are asking after 15-year-old Josie Ratley ended up in a coma because of a brutal beating by a fellow student.
Hilda Gotay Ratley, Josie Ratley's mother: "That's my baby there. I just want the way things were."
Then a few days later, another attack: this time on a school bus.
D'Angelique Coby: "I had told him I don't want to be with him anymore, and then he hit me."
And there are more cases of violence in South Florida schools: a boy stabbed to death at Coral Gables High School, a girl shot down at Dillard High, a young boy even set on fire.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "I think parents should be very concerned about what's going on out there."
Experts like Dr. Valerie Goode say all parents have to talk to their kids about violence.
Start by encouraging them to share their feelings, try to get them to open up about what's happening at their school, and let them know it's OK to report fights or threats.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "You go and you tell somebody. You tell the teacher, you ask for anonymity, whatever you have to do. You still have to tell somebody."
In the Deerfield Middle School beating, the student who attacked Josie had told friends he was going to hurt her.
Leslie Fraser, mother: "There's no rhyme or reason for that kind of rage."
Leslie Fraser's son, Journey, is in eighth grade. She says parents can feel helpless.
Leslie Fraser: "You don't have control over what people do or why a certain child would say, I'm going to get that boy today. That's my victim of the day."
But being aware of the potential for violence and talking about it helps both parents and their kids.
Mari Knutt: "It's waking me up to having dialogue more with my children. It is."
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Dr. Valerie Goode
Talking With Kids About Tough Issues