With Children About Violence
Violence-no one wants to see children victimized by it. No one
wants to see kids hurt others.
Many things today-TV and movies, words and actions that adults
learned when they were children, and the daily news-send the message
that violent behavior or being a victim of violence is okay, even
What can parents and other concerned adult do?
Start early. Talk about effective ways to handle frustration,
anger, and arguments during a child's youngest years and continue
through the teen years. Stress respect for self and others, describe
how you have settled arguments and other conflicts without violence,
and teach children not to use words that hurt. These valuable skills
can last a lifetime.
For very young children, some physical acts such as hitting, kicking
and biting may be a part of their development. But by age three,
most can understand non-violent ways to deal with anger and frustration,
even if they are not perfect at using these skills.
When you talk with children and teens about violence...
- Make clear that you do not approve of violence as a way to
solve problems. Explain the difference between feeling angry and
frustrated and acting out these feelings violently.
- Ask about the child's ideas on violence. Listen carefully and
encourage him or her to talk about worries, questions and fears.
- Try not to lecture. Instead, take advantage of "teachable
moments." For example, when there's a violent scene on television,
talk about what happened and how people could have prevented it.
When something violent and freighting happens at school or in
the neighborhood, talk about what other choices besides violence
might have been available.
- Make sure other adults in the child's life- a grandparent, a
cousin, a neighbor-know and respect your teachings about violence,
It confuses children when adults they trust send contradictory
messages about the ways people should act.
- Know who the child's friends are and know how they feel about
violence. Always know where your children and their friends are.
- Set a good example. Don't let yourself resort to violence to
settle conflicts or let off steam. Even in tense or very annoying
situations, calm down, walk away and talk it out.
Basic Tips to Teach Children
Children need to learn to take care of themselves when they are
school, with friends, or just out and about. There are many ways
young people can reduce their risk of being involved in violence.
Teach them to:
- Play, walk, bike, or skate with a friends rather than alone,
and always let a responsible adult know where they are.
- Never go anywhere with someone they and you do not know and
- Not let an argument grow into a fight-cool off, talk it out,
even walk away if they have to. Settle the problem with words,
not weapons or fists.
- Never carry a knife, gun or other weapon. It is against the
law and a sure way to turn a simple argument into a fight where
someone gets badly hurt or killed.
- Not use alcohol or other drugs. the effects they have on people's
minds often encourage violence.
- Stay away from kids who think fighting and other forms of violence
are "cool" and from places where fights often break
- Become a conflict solver for brothers and sisters, friends,
and classmates by getting training in mediation skills to help
others work out problems without violence.
- Tell a police officer or other trusted adult if they see a
violent crime, and talk about it to you or another caring adult.
Take a Stand
- Find out about conflict management and mediation training for
adults and children. Work with schools and parent organizations
to teach these skills in all grades.
- Help develop recreational and educational programs for all young
people in the community, so they will have better things to do
than fight and can benefit from adult supervision and mentoring.
- Make sure your schools are safe places to learn. Many Children
feel safer after school than when they are on school property
or traveling back and forth to school. Work with educators, local
government, law enforcement and others in the community to solve
problems involving crime, drugs, harassment, and bullying.
- Get youth, from grade schoolers to teens, involved in helping
the community. Some ideas include cleaning up a playground, starting
a garden, tutoring younger children, escorting elderly residents
to stores, producing a newsletter. When young people have an important
role in building up the community, they are far less likely to
turn to violent actions that tear it down.
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Crime Prevention Tips Provided by:
National Crime Prevention Council