Youth rage

youthzone logo every tues
- Advertisement -

Several years ago, the University of the West Indies surprised students during a communication exam with an interesting passage entitled “Dealing with irrational anger”. The writer stated that anger “is a natural emotion, but its prevalence has led many experts to wonder whether society is now boiling over with rage”.

And the video clips of brawls involving youth from various schools seem to support the view that excessive heated moments, coupled with explosive tempers, have plunged us into crisis mode.

Rage, which is extreme or violent anger, can make you forget that you are in the middle of the capital in your school uniform fighting tooth and nail in the streets—totally oblivious to cameras that will immortalise your conduct and undermine your school.

It can also cause you to be combative with law enforcement officers and trigger other youth to follow suit. Even adults are fearful to speak to some youth who seem to be ever-ready to retaliate in a most disrespectful manner. What in the world is fuelling this type of rage?

Eighteen-year-old Chrysean Jarvis is convinced that it’s all about image. “The youths are quick to resort to violence because they are afraid of losing their image.” The Golden Grove resident pointed that the ‘Me cyah believe you tek that’ statements by their peers and parents fuel rage and “prompt them to react inappropriately to the challenges they face”.

If youth “walked away or attempted to settle a dispute correctly,” Chrysean said, “they would be branded with negative adjectives such as punky, soft, and wimps.”

1 youthzone chrysean jarvis
Chrysean Jarvis

But you may think that being carried away by police and dominating news headlines may tarnish one’s image even more. Well, the ironic reality is, even though that may very well be true, walking away from a fight can do more damage to youth self-esteem.

So too can toxic friends, who become your biggest cheerleaders during times of conflict and journey to the jail cell. They add no value to your life, which may be cut short if you don’t sever such ‘friendships’.

As the passage indicated, “For most of us, learning about anger starts in childhood,” many times, in tumultuous homes where “being angry becomes a way of life. Sometimes children learn that the only way to get what they want is to start a fight or be very angry and the parents will give in”.

While Chrysean recognises that “conflict resolution is taught in schools and churches,” he does not believe enough conflict resolution is being taught and exemplified in the home. The absence of conflict resolution in the family spurs youth violence, which continues to manifest itself repeatedly in public settings.

“How can our youth resolve conflict if their most powerful influence—their parents—do not want it to be resolved?” Chrysean asked rhetorically.

Some may argue that parents, unlike friends, wield very little influence in their children’s lives. There might be some truth, but parents still have a crucial responsibility to shape the core values in their children.

These include respect, accountability as well as equality and social justice. Chrysean remained adamant that “today’s parents are lackadaisical when it comes to the social aspect of their child’s life. They are doing the bare minimum to prevent or deescalate arising issues”.

And to make matters worse, the sociology student noted that there are inadequate outlets for young people to manage their anger. “I believe we should look at it from a different angle. Being aggressive isn’t solely a negative trait,” he said. “We should capitalise on it and allow the youths to channel that built-up anger into sports.”

For example, Chrysean pointed out that boxing is quite dormant in our country and isn’t popular like football or track and field. Sports in general, according to Chrysean, provide great opportunities to mitigate extreme anger and “turn it into an achievable career”.

The teenager recommended that young people “pursue a hobby that allows you to separate yourself, find peace, and become self-aware in order to consider how your actions affect your family, friends, education, and, most importantly, yourself. There are numerous traps in life that are just waiting for you,” he stated.

“These traps come in the form of provocation, with the aim to hinder you from growing. Don’t fall for the trap,” he advised.

He also encouraged youth, particularly males, to talk to someone.

“We have the mindset that we have everything under control and that expressing ourselves makes us less of a man. It doesn’t,” Chrysean asserted. “One of the greatest characteristics of being a man is being able to express yourself and admit that you need help because no man is an island.”

- Advertisement -