In today’s society, harsh words, abuse, anger and violence can be seen everywhere –from TV shows, movies, social media, peers and even inside the homes. Unfortunately, women and children often fall as the biggest victims. In fact, recent data from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reveals that 8 out of 10 Filipino children have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime. But amidst the violence, is there any way for parents to protect their children? How can parents raise non-violent teens and adults? Here are simple ways to keep your kids peace-loving:
1. Give love and attention
Research has shown that aggressive behavior is often learned early in life. However, children whose parents show constant love and attention are less likely to develop delinquency and other behavioral problems.
2. Imbibe secure and happy environment
As teens experience massive physical, hormonal and emotional changes, they may feel isolated and tend to act out their fears and frustrations. Spending adequate time with your kids not only let them feel they are not alone. It also helps them know they are safe and have someone to talk about their problems.
3. Foster empathy
Empathy helps your child learn to respect other people’s feeling, rights, needs and boundaries. It teaches them to reflect on their own behavior and communicate their feelings to other people appropriately. One way you can help your child develop empathy is having a frequent discussion with your child about what and how they feel.
For example, your child may come home from school and complain about a classmate who has been pretty irritating lately. Telling your teen to just leave that classmate alone could only make them feel you’re not interested in their story. Instead, you can encourage them to talk more about it by asking questions like “How’s your classmate has been behaving?”, “Why do you think the classmate has been behaving that way?”, “Do you think there is anything you can do to help your classmate?” Asking these questions could help your child put themselves in other’s shoes and think of sensible ways to respond.
4. Limit screen time
Don’t let your kids spend too much time with media containing violent contents. While it’s impossible to check on your teens 24/7, helping them understand what they see, view or hear on screens can build their critical thinking. Explain to them the real consequences of violence and people won’t just get away with violent behavior in real life.
5. Learn anger management
It’s okay and perfectly natural to feel angry. However, it’s important to teach your kids healthy ways of handling conflict and emotion. Leading by example is the best way to do this. This doesn’t mean you need to hide your feelings but rather show good ways on how to stay calm when you’re upset.
6. Respect differences
Love and compassion should start at home, but it shouldn’t end there. Everyone is worthy of respect and love. Let your kid learn this important lesson by fostering respect and embracing differences –regardless of a person’s gender, look, or status.
Related article: What You Can Say To Your Child If They’re Bullies
7. Refrain from harsh punishments
Using violence as a form of punishment only teaches your kids to be violent. When disciplining your child, make sure it comes free of parental anger. Punishing your child while you’re in rage can only lead to expressing harsh words and extreme actions which you may regret later.
Related Article: 5 Phrases Children Don’t Want to Hear From Parents Growing Up
In the end, the best way to keep your child from being violent is through leading them by example. Laying down these foundations and practicing it everyday, your kid will be able to carry it as they grow.
Crisostomo, S. (2018, April 8). 8 of 10 children in the Philippines experienced violence. Philippine Star, Retrieved from https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/04/08/1803848/8-10-children-philippines-experienced-violence
Duman, S. & Margolin, G. (2007). J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2007 Mar; 36(1): 42–55. DOI: 10.1207/s15374424jccp3601_5
Lisa Firestone, Ph.D. (2012, October 1). 7 Ways to Stop Violence at Every Age. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/compassion-matters/201210/7-ways-stop-violence-every-age
Carl E. Pickhardt, Ph.D. (2009, November 15) How NOT to punish your adolescent. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/200911/how-not-punish-your-adolescent