While youth crime in general has been on the wane, the number of youth crimes involving violence has increased. In 1986 about 8.5 per cent of all youth crimes were classified as violent. By 1996 it was up to 18.5 per cent. Basically this means that your kid is quite vulnerable to being intimidated at school or on the playground or when you least expect it.
It’s during the younger teen years that kids are more likely to be bullied. One of the most common forms of violence is extortion. Victims are intimidated into giving up lunch money on a regular basis (sometimes called “taxing”) or handing over stuff that kids value like PSPs, clothing or shoes. The bully gets worse whenever there is a new fashion fad.
Terror prevents your kid from telling you what is going on. A child can spend all day being ignored by everyone she knows just because she dared to confront a bully. She also risks losing her stuff, being misunderstood by teachers when she is blamed for stuff she did not do and also very real physical violence.
Another reason for violence just seems to be gossip or rumors or territorial behavior. Usually this is of a social nature and has to do with budding romances. Your kid may not tell you what is going on simply because they would really rather that you do not know that they like some girl or boy at school. It is completely embarrassing for them to think that you would intervene in a romantic matter. They tend to get up in dramas that they think are none of your business.
Bullies do not like betrayal so one solution is to give your kid a code word to use if there happens to be a bully nearby. That way you can be warned of trouble and avoid a confusing situation. A code word helped my kid reveal who was bullying her on the school ground without actually having to 'tell me.' A teacher and I were able to deal with it immediately.
Some police departments and schools, particularly in larger cities, are taking youth violence and teenage gangs more seriously, but many victims are won't ask for help from, adults. Partly, they fear vindictiveness from the bullies. Many don't have sex that their parents will take them seriously. However adult intervention into these bullying situations is absolutely essential sometimes or else someone can get seriously hurt.