Psychologist offers thoughts on what drives teenagers to commit violent crimes

Thoriso Themane's murder in Polokwane on Sunday has raised alarm bells in South Africa regarding the possible involvement of teenagers in the crime. One teen was filmed in school uniform, bragging about the murder, saying he was protected because his father was a policeman.

Then on Wednesday morning, a CapeTalk caller described a horrific incident in the small town of Darling where a homeless man who had lived in the town for many years was allegedly beaten up by a group of children and found dead the next morning.

I've been here 15 years and as long as I have been here, he has been here, very innocently working the streets.

CapeTalk caller

Everyone is referring to these children as the 'untouchables.'

CapeTalk caller

Clinical psychologist Cathy Angus talks to Kieno Kammies about why some young people commit such violent crimes.

She says it seems to be a worldwide phenomenon.

What is scary is the sense of younger people feeling invincible.

Cathy Angus, Clinical psychologist

Social media also plays a role, she says.

But we need to look at where these children are created? And this needs to be largely in the home, with different parenting styles, to respect others.

Cathy Angus, Clinical psychologist

She explains how the use of 'punishment' rather than 'discipline' is problematic.

if you don't validate your child. If you just give orders. if there is a focus on obedience.

Cathy Angus, Clinical psychologist

Parents who show little regard for a child's opinion will create this type of behaviour, she says.

They don't teach a child how to make better choices but rather punish them for their mistakes...and you end up with a reaction of hostility and aggression.

Cathy Angus, Clinical psychologist

Take a listen:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Psychologist offers thoughts on what drives teenagers to commit violent crimes


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