CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) – A recent rash of school threats in Cumberland and York counties has local psychologists talking about the motivation behind them and how to talk to your kids to find out if they’re at risk.
Thomas Bowers, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Camp Hill, says there are two areas of influence that cause kids to act out: modeling and their social/environmental atmosphere.
“Folks that experience things like deceit, threat of status, through economic threats or general status tend to be more likely to engage in this behavior,” Bowers said. “Secondly, there seems to be a modeling of aggressive and hate-like speech that you’ve seen a lot in our media and from political figures. Those are two pretty prominent influences.”
There are warning signs to look for.
“Be alert for signs of depression and withdrawal,” Bowers said. “Sometimes for adolescents, it’s manifested by irritability, outbursts or aggressiveness. If you think they need care and treatment, make arrangements for that.”
Psychologists say the best thing you can do is check in with your children every day to see how they’re doing. Most importantly, listen to their response.
“It’s important for [parents] to communicate with their children, especially adolescents, and fairly openly,” Bowers said. “Especially for adolescents, you want to be open. You want to ask them what they think about something that may have been said or done and how they feel about it.”