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School Shootings: Are We Missing the Signs?

Picture of Mary Warren
Mary Warren

Therapeutic Consultant
and Parenting Coach

School shooting are devastating tragedies that leave us searching for answers and ways to prevent them. While is tempting to look for simple explanations, the reality is that there are no easy answers. 

Many factors contribute to violence in schools:

  • Access to guns
  • Untreated mental health issues
  • Bullying and isolation
  • Exposure to extreme ideologies’

There is no single profile of a school shooter.

Sadly, school shootings continue to be a tragic reality. When these things happen, people often unfairly blame the parents, questioning why they didn’t see the warning signs.

Child related gun violence and school shooting (infographic) statistic
Image Credit & Source:  Sandy Hook Promise

However, understanding and recognizing potential yet subtle warning signs can make a difference in whether we provide mental health support or intervene before violence occurs.  is not easy; often, these teens isolate themselves somewhat and hide things from their parents.

Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness! Being vigilant about a teen’s changes in behavior and mood can help parents recognize possible issues with anger, bullying, and isolation.

Remember, it’s about understanding and supporting, not blame. With awareness and the right approach, parents can play a key role in guiding their teens safely through challenging times.

Spotting the Subtle Warning Signs

How Changes in Fashion Can Signal Teen Troubles
Warning Signs If your teen has recently shown interest in unusual clothing or accessories he/she would otherwise never have been interested in, this might be a sign that something is up.

It’s especially important to take note if your son is suddenly wearing baggy or layered clothing when it’s not exactly cool outside. This is because school shooters have been known to wear trench coats to conceal weapons.

school shootings School Shootings: Are We Missing the Signs?
According to the Secret Service and the Department of Education

Leading psychologists and safety experts stress the importance of open communication in preventing school violence.  They suggest creating an environment where teens feel safe to express their feelings and concerns. 

I urge parents to check-in with their teenagers regularly, discuss how they are feeling and what’s happening at school daily. Stay in touch with your kids teachers, there are many ways to do this without being intrusive. 

An Obsession with Firearms/Weaponry

Another sign of a teen about to act out in a violent way at school is a newly found obsession with firearms and/or weaponry such as knives, bows, etc. If your teen has never been involved with a hunting lifestyle, this could be a red flag. If your teen also has a history of aggression, intervene quickly.

The ongoing threat of school shootings is frightening. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless when these things happen. While there are no foolproof solutions, take proactive measures and seek solutions when you notice troubling signs.

As parents, let’s be proactive instead of reactive. If you feel discomfort, take action. Don’t ignore that uncomfortable feeling, it is difficult to realize or admit to ourselves that our child may be able to harm others.

Identifying and addressing underlying issues like bullying, social isolation, and mental health concerns, we can help students develop healthy coping mechanisms and build positive relationships. Conflict resolution training empowers students to navigate disagreements constructively, reducing tensions and promoting a safer school climate.”

~Dr. David Osher, Professor of Education & Co-Director of the Duke University Institute for Effective Education Policy.

Don’t go it alone. There’s lots of professional help available for you and your teenager. Be aware of the potential warning signs, foster open communications, and work with a parenting coach like me or a therapist.

Seeking help is a sign of strength. If you or someone you know is struggling, don’t wait. Let’s break the stigma surrounding mental health and create a supportive environment for our young people. 

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Struggling to connect with your teen?
Feeling Helpless about their behavior?

Restore peace in your home and help your teen find their path to emotional and physical wellness. Get expert guidance on strategies to manage conflict and support your teen’s emotional growth. Don’t wait. Get the support you need today.

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