Parenting Tip: Addressing Youth Violence with Your Teen

Thell Robinson emphasizes the importance of giving teens strong, positive role models. He speaks from raw experience, as someone who rebuilt his life after falling into drugs, violence, and incarceration in his early years.

While he knows he can’t erase the past, he has dedicated his life to helping at-risk teens and young adults to avoid the violent lifestyle he once knew through his organization Halt Violence.

If you’re not familiar, Halt Violence is a nonprofit agency with street cred - saving lives through street mediation and changing minds through mentorship. 

“We do it better than anyone because squashing beef and saving lives is our mission,” says the Halt Violence website.

Through his experience in talking with teens who are confront by violence in their neighborhoods, Mr. Robinson eloquently explains why and how negative influences can be far more difficult to resist. 

“They’re everywhere. Teens see them in the media, in the community and even sometimes at home. And they’re compelling, especially when teens respect and admire people who are doing wrong acts.” 

Mr. Robinson asks how we expect young people to resist these issues without a powerful counterpoint reminding them to make right choices. 

His may be a voice on and from the inner city, but his advice works for suburban and rural families too. 

He reminds us to set fair rules and then follow through with consequences if the rules aren’t respected. A National Institute for Health study from 2020 found that adolescents respond favorably to facing logical consequences for certain behaviors. Iowa State University notes that youth who “experience natural consequences develop self-discipline and inner strength and learn to respect order… {because} it leads to better living.”

Mr. Robinson advocates for a “trust but verify” parenting strategy, meaning parents should meet their child’s friends and their parents, check phones for texts and social media accounts, and look in their bedrooms. 

“A parent’s highest priority should always be to keep their teens safe.”

Learn more about the mission and work of our prevention partners at Halt Violence by visiting


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