In many U.S. cities and some rural areas, gangs are exploding and causing alarm to residents as well as local, state, and federal politicians. The most typical response to gang violence is to increase law enforcement devoted to cracking down on youth criminals. Prosecuting attorneys have used creative approaches to gang intervention, including injunctions and the enforcement of housing codes.

Prevention is generally an after-thought with limited resources and little tracking of the success or lack of success of these efforts. Strategies to frighten at-risk youth such as “scared straight” and D.A.R.E. have been funded for many years with few results.

Legitimate anger management classes, which include pre- and post-tests, curricula, client workbooks, DVDs and other teaching material actually work. These courses, when taught by Certified Anger Management Facilitators, lead to a decrease in person-directed violence, an increase in empathy, an increase in precision learning, as well as an increase in self-esteem and academic achievement.

The state of Texas is considering making anger management a required course for all middle and high school students. If this measure becomes law, there will be a decrease in aggression and violence in adult life. Some school districts in Texas are already using anger management with considerable success.

In addition to skill enhancement in anger management, stress management, communication and emotional intelligence, anger management classes can be used in lieu of suspension, expulsion, or school transfer. Courses for parents can, and should, be available through adult schools for parents of at-risk youth. Finally, anger management should be used in all gang prevention programs and substance abuse programs.

By George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP

Anger Management Classes available 7 days a week in Houston, Texas.

Gregory A. Kyles, M.A., LPC, CEAP, CAMF
Director, Anger Management Institute of Texas
Diplomate, President of Texas Chapter
American Association of Anger Management Providers

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