Children have always gotten mad. But experts warn that there is a new, explosive brand of anger in children today, and that it is being manifested in far more dangerous and self-destructive ways, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. Last year, Hamilton County Juvenile Court ordered more than 600 youths – some of them violent offenders – to attend anger management classes. The YWCA’s adolescent anger management program will serve nearly 400 teenagers this year, doubling the number served in 1995. Officials at Beech Acres, a children and family services agency, say half of mental health referrals and a fifth of the calls made to their parent-help hot line deal with anger issues.
Columbus psychologist Daniel Davis, author of the book “Your Angry Child: A Parent’s Guide,” said youth today handle anger in significantly different – and more unsettling – ways than in the past. “Kids today are acting out in more aggressive ways and at younger ages,” he said. “They’re being desensitized – they see adults exhibiting violent behavior as a result of their anger, and so that’s how they behave. And frankly, that kind of behavior gets results.” If adults don’t figure out how to help children manage their burgeoning anger, we will see more road rage, workplace violence, domestic abuse, and hostile social behavior when they’re adults, experts predict. Anger cuts across social and economic lines, reaching from the toughest of city neighborhoods to the most placid suburban streets.