How Can Parents Thwart Teen Fighting?

By steven larsen (own image taken) [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (

According to statistical information, almost 25 percent of teenagers admit to having been in a fight within the past year. However, there’s new research that suggests parents can play an important role in preventing incidences of physical violence in their teens.

The Study:

The study lead author, Dr. Rashmi Shetgiri, from UCLA-Medical Center, stated, “Fighting can lead to serious injuries and even death, so we felt it was important to identify ways to prevent physical altercations among adolescents.”

Dr. Shetgiri further stated, “Most violence-prevention programs focus on school-based interventions with little involvement of families. This study suggests that it is crucial to involve families, especially parents, in violence-prevention programs.”

The research team conducted focus groups involving parents of African American and Latino teenagers to address higher rates of violence reported among youngsters within these ethnic groups. A total of 17 teens participated and 76 percent of them were females. The parents had teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 years of age, and they resided in urban areas.

All of the parents involved in the study believed fighting prevention starts in the home. The Latino parents believed that parents have the most influence in teaching their children about non-violent conflict resolution skills.

Some of the African American parents in the group thought fighting was sometimes necessary. However, they also supported non-violent methods of resolving conflicts. These parents expressed doubts about how well the non-violent strategies would work as a way of stopping children from fighting, but acknowledged this is not a long-term solution.

Latino parents also stated they taught their children the consequences of fighting, as well as how to control their emotions and resolve problems without violence. Still these same parents viewed physical violence as a last resort, according to researchers.

Previous research studies suggested that these views are likely associated with more violence among teenagers. The team stated it’s important to address parent’s attitudes about fighting, engaging them in violence prevention programs and to tailor these programs to different racial or ethnic groups.

In Conclusion:

Teen violence, bullying and fighting are all important issues in today’s society. In closing Dr. Shetgiri stated, “In addition to addressing parental views about fighting, our study suggests that teaching parents and adolescents how to effectively use non-violent methods to resolve conflicts and increasing their use of these methods may help reduce violent altercations among African-American and Latino teens.”

She further adds that the research team feels it would be beneficial to include all influential members of a teen’s community, including peers and teachers.


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