Columbia, SC (WLTX) - It's difficult to understand why violence happens and to predict when it will happen. It's even more difficult to predict who will be violent in the future, but Jo Mason, M.D. said there are some risk factors to look for.
"Keep in mind this does not mean that if you have this risk factor that you're going to go out and shoot people or even have an act of violence," she said.
Mason is a psychiatrist with Palmetto Health USC Medical Group.
She said some risks include a history of aggressive behavior, witnessing violence in person or through various forms of media, substance abuse, neglect and bullying. Mason said to also look for a sudden drop in grades, self-isolation and changes in behavior.
She said it's best for parents to have open communication with their children.
"That includes spending time with their kids, being there when their kids wake up, having dinner with their kids, being involved and doing activities with their children," she said.
However, no parent is perfect.
"They have their job, keeping up with their finances, their families. Some people are single parents and they don't have a lot of time, so there's a lot of pressure on parents too," she said.
She said there has been an uptick in concern over certain children after school shootings.
"We certainly do have parents and teachers who are concerned about certain children or certain adolescents and I also see a lot of children adolescents who are saddened and concerned about what their seeing," she said.
She said parents should have conversations about these events with their children in a way that's right for them and if you are concerned about a child, it may be best to have them medically evaluated.
"It's better to intervene and be kind of proactive about it and to me more supportive of the children in general," she said.
For more information on violent behavior in children from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry click here.