Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Non-violent Kids

I was reading this article by a Christian author, professor, and clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Dr. Linda Mintle. The article is titled Raising Nonviolent Teens, and I thought it had very interesting principles that parents of young children, as early as preschoolers, can apply now.

Raising Nonviolent Kids

By Dr. Linda Mintle

If you watch the news each night, you understand what a violent society we live in today. There are things you can do, however, to raise children who are peaceful, loving, and kind.

Take a moment and evaluate how well your family is doing in several significant areas:

  • Be Stress-free

Is our family life full of stress? We all have stress. But too much stress over long periods of time depletes our abilities to cope. People reach a breaking point and sometimes act out in violent and aggressive ways. Are our stress levels manageable?
  • Family Support

Do family members support one another? People do better at coping with stress when they have support. Everyone needs love, caring, affirmation and regular support. Do we provide support for each other?

  • Mind Your Kids

Are we vigilant when it comes to monitoring our kids? There are simply too many dangerous influences in the culture. We have to keep on top of what kids are exposed to and what they bring into our homes. Privacy, in my opinion, is overrated in most households. There has to be supervision and screening of media. Kids and teens are not mini adults. They need guidance. You can’t guide when you don’t know what is going on or are too busy.

  • Talk About It

How well do we communicate? Without communication, you won’t know what is going on in the minds and hearts of your kids. You need to ask because they won’t always volunteer information.

  • Resolve Conflicts Well

Do we have healthy ways to resolve conflicts? Are we modeling and teaching anger control and nonviolent ways to handle life problems? Are we teaching problem-solving skills, conflict resolution and patience?

  • Discipline Your Kids

Do we have appropriate and effective discipline in our home? Do we provide consequences for problems behaviors? Are we consistent and predictable? Not too rigid or not too lenient?

  • Right vs. Wrong

Do our children know what is right and wrong? It is our job to train up our children. Have we provided a strong spiritual and moral framework for living? Does our family understand how to employ nonviolence?

  • Show Them Love

Do we show family members unconditional love? We need to discipline and correct children but our love is unconditional. Does everyone feel loved no matter what? This is God’s way.

  • Develop Your Relationship

Do we have strong and meaningful relationships with our children? This is the number one protection for any teen risk behavior.

  • Model Nonviolence

Are we prepared to model nonviolence? Jesus was nonviolent. He showed great compassion for people. He stood His ground but did not become aggressive, violent, foul-mouthed, disrespectful and hurtful to others. His Gospel is radical in that it teaches us to love our enemies, pray for those who use us, bless those who curse us and turn the other cheek.