Warning signs parents need to be aware of

Posted: Monday, June 2, 2014 --- 9:10pm

The recent stabbing out of Waukesha involving two young girls stabbing another girl 19 times, after luring the victim into the woods, is certainly horrifying and disturbing, especially considering the age of the suspects.

NBC 15 spoke with a local psychiatrist to find what behaviors and warning signs could be associated with such a troubling event.

Dr. Peggy Scallon, with UW Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, says it's always a challenge keeping our kids safe, but now, perhaps, a bit harder than in years past.

The internet has certainly changed the way we all live. It contains much beneficial information, it's also full of dark and wicked things. For example, in the Waukesha stabbing case, police say the two young suspects had an obsession with a website containing stories of death and horror.

Today, the internet can reach our children, like never before, in both good and bad ways.

"Some young children and even adults have limited ability to distinguish fantasy from reality. And parents should be aware of what media content their kids are looking at” says Dr. Scallon.

Besides being preoccupied with violent material, the following are some other warning signs adults should be aware of.

Kids who have a history of:

1. Cruelty to animals
2. Bullying
3. Drug and/or alcohol problems
4. Brought a weapon to school
5. Have a toxic friendship(s)

"Sometimes there can be a contagion effect, if kids are plotting something together and neither one is very able to distinguish fantasy from reality. Sometimes that might amplify poor choices they might make” says Dr. Scallon

If you're concerned at all about a child's behavior, Dr. Scallon advises you seek professional help for your child, even if you have a slight concern.

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