It is very apparent in anger management groups that teenagers are children. They are treated with kid gloves, not just by the facilitators but also by the other men. There is a recognition of some fragility. It is also mindboggling some of the remarks that come out. Strong racial biases, homophobic judgements and very sexist. It is a very simple world of good and bad, hurt or be hurt and absolutely no sense of consequences. Their brains biologically are not fully formed and are prone to major emotional decisions that leave one’s head shaking.
Where are they coming from? Their view is no one has really ever cared a dam about them so they have no care about anyone else either. This is their world. One of alienation, strange alliances and resentment. Many have been raised by single mums, to a certain extent orphaned and their only comfort is another orphan who is often a gang member.
The anger management group is often the first time they have been in dialogue with men. Their eyes get opened to the reality of life, that it is far from simple. Some leave with an understanding that the gun is a representation of their own powerlessness and impotence in the world but they love the power it gives them. And tragically they then feel safe. The challenge is for them to realize the power comes from within themselves, yet their experience has told them otherwise.