Home: The Birthplace of Violence

Note: This blog post has been revised to include “ethos” in my argument. If you would like to refer to the previous post click here.

I live at Milton Hershey School with elementary-age children. One child in my home would return from holiday breaks and express very violent behavior. He was physically aggressive, e.g. hitting, kicking, pushing. He would continuously have temper tantrums, and any little thing that didn’t go his way resulted in screaming, crying and non-compliant behavior.  However, all this behavior resulted from a highly stressful home life. This child’s mother was very sick and at times would collapse without warning. She taught her 1st grade son to call 9-1-1 if/when that would happen. Seeing his mother like that and calling an ambulance made him scared, and he would constantly worry about her. This put a lot of stress on the child and he became extremely angry inside.

Many people believe that humans are violent by nature. However, that is not the case. Violent behavior and the use of violence is a product of a person’s environment. People who are constantly exposed to violence start to become conditioned to it. In return they become violent themselves. As stated in the article Bad to the Bone: Are Humans Naturally Aggressive? , “Humans who live through real childhood trauma and social stress are highly violent and have trouble controlling their behaviors as adults”. This statement validates the idea that violence is a product of one’s environment. Because humans experience highly violent and stressful situations as a child, they grow to mirror that violent behavior.

Besides childhood trauma and social stress, unstable families lead to violence. According to the article Nature, Nurture and Violence “Crime statistics seem to indicate that communities that lack stable family units produce more crime- particularly violent crime”. An unstable family unit is able to provide their child with moral teaching. A person who lacks moral teaching is unable to see the difference between right and wrong. This sets them up for a criminal future. Again, these criminal actions point back to product of one’s environment.

Many believe that violence is apart of our nature as humans However, that idea is refuted in the article The Evolution of Human Aggression. The text states “Evolution didn’t shape us to be violent, or peaceful, it shaped us to respond flexibly, adaptively, to different circumstances, and to risk violence when it made adaptive sense to do so”. Violence is not the “go to” action/reaction of humans. Humans are not naturally violent. Violence is only brought out when it makes “adaptive” sense to do so. When violence is seen as necessary depends on the person. Depending the environment where the person was raised, they may see the need for violence more often than others.

imageThis image visually displays the concept of violence as a product of one’s environment. Violence truly does lead to violence. As stated in  The Evolution of Human Aggression “Violence comes down to the complexity of the emotion driving it”. If a person is constantly experiencing violence, they will use violence in return because of the angry, revengeful feelings that have built up inside of them.

~ Lauryn W.