Safety is one of the most important responsibilities of anyone who cares for children. In today’s society, it seems children are exposed to acts of violence more often than in the past. While this trend may be partially due to the increased exposure of this issue through social media, it is also a very real trend in society as a whole.
It Starts with Awareness
Parents, working with schools, community organizations, and with children at home can have a big impact on how children view violence and conflict in the world around them. Adults should take advantage of what are known as “teachable moments” to give children the opportunity to think about the harm that violence causes. Teachable moments occur whenever an actual event provides an opportunity for learning.
Discussing issues such as the very real trauma of bullying, including cyber bullying, and using examples to increase a child’s understanding of empathy is a gentle and meaningful way to prepare even young children to avoid using violence as a means to solve their problems.
Tips and Strategies
Help children to use effective communication to resolve conflicts:
- Model effective conflict resolution skills and avoid mixed messages as to resolving conflicts or difficulties using verbally aggressive or physically aggressive means.
- Talk to children and help them to understand how violence impacts not just the victim but also the person using violence as a way to resolve a problem.
- Encourage children to reach out to their peers who have experiencing bulling or hostility and to be a friend.
- Make sure children understand what to do if they see or experience any type of violence. This could include telling a teacher, a parent or making a 911 call to get immediate help.
Parents may also want to volunteer to help in the classroom to learn about the different programs that their child’s school of childcare center school is using to help address issues of youth violence in your own community.