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How Children Become Violent: Keeping Your Kids Out of Gangs, Terrorist Organizations, and Cults [Paperback]

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Item description for How Children Become Violent: Keeping Your Kids Out of Gangs, Terrorist Organizations, and Cults by Kathryn Seifert...

Argues that children who are exposed to violence and are neglected and abused in their early years are more prone to commite violent acts.

Publishers Description
Violence is an age-old phenomenon. War, genocide, and death are cornerstones that define history. Yet in the 21st century, we are experiencing violence in ways never seen before. It may be in worldwide terrorist organizations, inner city and suburban gangs, or the disturbed teenager next door who takes his rage out on innocent classmates. Those who commit violence today, as Kathryn Seifert, Ph.D. explains in this book, are likely to be adults or adolescents who themselves witnessed violence as children or were abused or neglected in their early years. Childhood is a time when bonding with caregivers stimulates the formulation of behavioral regulation, interpersonal skills, moral development, brain development, and problem solving, and when it is interrupted Disrupted Attachments Patterns (DAP) can form. This means that today's violent, neglected, psychologically unbalanced, and traumatized children are likely to be tomorrow's dangers to society-that is, unless we can intervene to assess DAP and offer them appropriate therapy. Dr. Seifert offers personal insights from her over 30 years of experience in mental health, addictions, and criminal justice work to help other therapists, victims, and parents understand not only how children become violent, but illuminate the pathway to a violence-free future.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   269
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 29, 2006
Publisher   Acanthus Publishing
ISBN  1933631481  
ISBN13  9781933631486  

Availability  0 units.

More About Kathryn Seifert

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Kathryn Seifert, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist, author, speaker, and researcher who specializes in family violence and trauma. She is Founder and CEO of Eastern Shore Psychological Services (, a private practice that focuses on serving children, adolescents, and at-risk youth and their families. For more information, please visit her website at

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Social Sciences > Psychology > Developmental
2Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Mental Health > Emotions
3Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Psychology & Counseling > Child Psychology > Development
4Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Psychology & Counseling > Social Psychology & Interactions
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > General
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General
7Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Violence in Society
8Books > Subjects > Parenting & Families > Parenting > Child Care

Reviews - What do customers think about How Children Become Violent: Keeping Your Kids Out of Gangs, Terrorist Organizations, and Cults?

How Children Become Violent  Jun 22, 2008
Never since grade 9 have I ever turned down the corner of a page in a book until now (nearing my retirement years), I sat down to read Dr. Kathy Siefert's book: How Children Become Violent (subtitle) Keeping Your Kids out of Gangs, Terrorist Organizations, and Cults).

First I began highlighting the words of wisdom I wanted to remember. Then I penciled notes in the columns with cross-referencing to other paragraphs I had already highlighted, or was comparing to authors and psychological research using my own personal memory scheme. Very quickly I ran out of using only the highlighted and penciled notes, as there were too many "gems" that needed to be separated by category. With a groan of despair, I apologized to my long gone grade 9 librarian and began turning down the corners of pages that were "extra special".

You guessed it, after a time I felt like I was buried in the Crown jewels and had to find yet another method to separate the VERY exquisite, categorizing to the exquisite, from there to the rare gems, then to the of jewels and on it goes. I have not yet, after six months of reading this book over and over, found enough earmarks to separate the special pages and quotes I am looking for when I am giving public reviews of this book to various mental health agencies, educational institutions and police who work with youth. My latest desperate attempt to keep the information at my fingertips has been to rip pages out of other books (gasp!) and use them as markers with the quote I need written at the top of the torn paper. So far, this is working reasonably well. If you were to see my copy of Dr. Siefert's book, you would think it has been trampled by an army, and that it has been dreadfully abused. Not so. Out of thousands of books in my personal library, this is one of my most treasured.

Recently I gave a synopsis of the International Forensic Mental Health Conference, (where I met Dr. Siefert and bought her book), to the Canadian Mental Health Association. My lecture and notes which were distributed and emailed all across our country began with: "Buy this book!" I keep emailing Dr. Siefert to send me more bookmarks with the Publisher's address on it because I pass them out at every meeting I attend. Soon, if I'm not cautious I will be out on the street corners, stuffing her bookmarkers and ordering address into the pockets of everyone who crosses my path!

Am I a lunatic? Not usually. I have been a registered nurse since Noah's Ark landed and have worked for many years in mental health. As an adult I went back to university to earn a Psychology degree and a Master's degree in counseling so I could spend my full time work as a psychotherapist in mental health. I work for Corrections and Justice in Canada and am committed to finding ways to educate the public and our governments on the intense need for the provision of mental health services for our youth.

For many years I have been looking forward to retirement, when I would write about a subject very close to my heart... the subject of Attachment. After an evening of reading Dr. Siefert's book, with a sense of satisfaction rather than disappointment, I laid down her book in my lap with a sigh relief, and realized that it has been done. And I'm sure much more articulately and proficiently than I would ever have been able to produce.

Dr. Siefert takes us right from the beginning of the needs of the infant to the results of a child not having basic needs met. She gives plain, basic, qualified advice as to how we can determine what type of child might become dangerous as an adult, tells us which tests are useful for what purpose, and takes us through to treatment, leaving nothing for us to guess. Personal stories and examples of famous people are used to keep us on the edge of our seat and connected to the scientific research in a way that we can all understand.

I have recommend this book to psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, mental health workers, Judges, defense attorneys, court workers, police, parents... in fact to anyone who has an interest in the youth of our society. It is written in a style that can be understood by all.

I began my lecture to the Canadian Mental Health Association with the plea to buy this book and ended a recent Justice and Mental Health meeting this week with the same words, passing out the bookmarks around the table in my lunatic style. I end this recommendation for this with the same words, for your own edification and for the future of our youth: "BUY THIS BOOK!"

Thorough look at the criminal mind  Jul 23, 2007
DAP is not the latest techno gadget to distract our children during math class. It is far more pervasive than any mobile device you'll find in kids' backpacks. And it is one of the leading causes of youth violence today.

Disrupted attachment patterns (DAP) are generated when a young child's attachment process to its caregiver is severed. As we all know, the first three years of life are particularly crucial for a child's brain and personality development. Dr. Kathryn Seifert provides an in-depth look inside the criminal mind. With a background in psychotherapy and criminal justice, Dr. Seifert painstakingly guides the reader through assessment tools, case studies and overwhelming evidence that sustained unmet basic needs lead to criminal behavior more often than not.

It's not the crying two-year-old that you should fear, she suggests. It's the one that no longer cries because it does no good. Severe neglect, abuse and community violence are perfect fodder for sustaining the cycle of violence for yet another generation.

The most helpful chapter, from my perspective as a parent, was Chapter Three, "The Six Stages of Moral Development". It had the broadest takeaway for the parent reader looking to steer her children clear of juvenile delinquency and, worse, gang membership; birth to two years (attachment process); two to seven years old (learning right from wrong); seven to eleven years old (lengthening attention spans); eleven to eighteen years old (the importance of group membership and the Golden Rule); adulthood I (self- AND other-regarding behavior) and adulthood II (apparently, according to Seifert, only Gandhi and MLK reach this level of generativity).

The author touches on other cultures where youth violence is endemic to the pervasive poverty and lack of health care present in the country. Brazil, the Phillipines and China are all places the author has visited. Each had its share of distinct child neglect. Surprisingly, she spoke highly of South Africa, one nation whose children's lives are riddled with trauma, yet a social network is in place to capture those kids more readily through informal community support. I was left wondering what the youth violence statistics are for the townships she visited.

One needn't look far to see the extensive gaps in mental health care for today's youth in the United States alone. Dr. Seifert's thorough demonstration of what's wrong dominates this book. She leaves less room for what is working. She dedicates the fewest number of pages to treatments and proven therapies. Perhaps the dilemma has not been scientifically dissected enough for the author or the hopelessness she saw in her years as a prison therapist have left her disempowered. The book is descriptive, thoroughly researched and, to the layman's eyes, rather depressing. Dr. James Garbarino's Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them is a much more hopeful account of what we parents can do to offset external pressures. While Dr. Seifert points most sharply at caregiver guilt for extreme violence in children, Dr. Garbarino suggests other external factors. For instance, 15% of aggressive male child behavior comes from violent television programs. He offers broader picture and sound advice for parents. An additional book, The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Preschool to High School--How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle of Violence by Barara Coloroso, is another brilliant look at school-age bullying behavior and how parents can strengthen their children's resolve to step in when a friend falls prey to his classmate's cruelty.

In general, I recommend reading "How Children Become Violent" if you have a propensity for psychoanalytics and an interest in several criminal behavior such as murder and rape. It is a well-written book with astounding statistics and will make you seek out your children to give them an extra hug and a good word.

Christine Louise Hohlbaum, author of Diary of a Mother: Parenting Stories and Other Stuff and Sahm I Am: Tales of a Stay-at-Home Mom in Europe, is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and two children near Munich, Germany.
Timely and eye-opening  Apr 20, 2007
After the tragedy of the Virginia Tech shootings this book couldn't come at a better time. It is an eye-opening account of how innocents make the tragic transformation and become violent. Dr. Seifert writes in easy-to-understand language and outlines prevention measures the country should be taking to stop the spread of violence in this country. Everyone, whether they have studied psychology or not should read this book!
Angela Ackerson-LCSW-C  Mar 8, 2007
Dr. Seifert's book is brilliant. I love the way this book builds on the topic. One chapter flows into the next in a very organized fashion. The content is nicely written so others not in the field can clearly identify the problem, understand how to assess the problem and finally and most importantly, how to treat it.

Timely material for the world we live in today. It's a must read.
Ernest Dempsey- TCM Reviews  Jan 15, 2007
Psychotherapist, speaker, and researcher Kathryn Seifert has scribed this new book on a very important topic, i.e. roots of violence in people who are generally regarded as `dangerous'. The impetus for writing How Children Become Violent came of Dr. Seifert's own experience of working in psychopathic inmates in a prison she remembers as `The Walls'. Years of research led her to conclude that juvenile and adult violence is rooted in early childhood trauma, neglect, and abuse. In her book, she explores in detail the way violence becomes a part of an individual's personality.

How Children Become Violentis divided into three main portions. The first deals with violence and disrupted attachment patterns (DAP) and the way they make their way in a child's mind. Dr. Seifert has included case studies to elaborate her point. The second part of the book details the assessment processes and criteria for determining an individual's degree of DAP. It has a fair degree of technical language and is mainly suited to the interest of mental heath professionals and researchers. The lay reader can skip this section without missing the gist of the author's discussion. In the third section, Dr. Seifert describes existing and possible treatment methods for dealing with DAP problems.

Dr. Seifert's writing style is easy to follow and free of linguistic complexity in the first and last section. Only where inevitable does she use the jargon of psychology/psychiatry. Her account of personal experience with violent individuals and the description of the miserable condition of children and youth in different countries give her book a touch of care and honest concern. The book also lists resources for getting information and guidance on DAP related problems.

Kathryn Seifert has done an important job in creating a book that aims at serving a vital purpose: preventing violence and making life peaceful. Her book How Children Become Violentis a recommended read for everyone.

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