How can parents steer children away from violent solutions? I have three grown kids. Not one of them has violent tendencies. I’m not saying they don’t get angry. I’m not saying they don’t lose their tempers. When they were young, they lost them more than a few times. Now that they’re grown, they behave like reasonable adults. I must admit, I have seen them argue their points a bit too harshly. Still, none of them ever resort to violence. What’s my secret? I’m not sure I know, but I think I might have a pretty good idea.
I’m not a violent person. I don’t solve my problems by hitting or hurting others. If I hurt someone, it’s unintentional. I don’t even eat meat. When I have a problem with someone, I don’t get violent, throw things or try to hurt them emotionally. I reason with them. If they don’t listen to reason, or aren’t willing to make a compromise, I just leave it alone. If it’s a serious matter, I take it to the proper authorities. I’m no vigilante. I’m a peacemaker.
I’ve never glamorized weapons. I realize a home can have weapons and not promote violence. Still, I think there’s something to be said for not owning weapons. Weapons are for doing harm, plain and simple. Whether you kill a creature so you can eat it, kill in combat, kill in self defense or kill for the thrill, weapons are made to do harm. While the weapon doesn’t do the killing, I’d rather not give children a tool to aid them in violent acts.
I gave my kids outlets. Kids need outlets for pent-up hostility. Usually this involves physical activity or creativity. My kids and I did a lot of crafts together. We also went to the park a lot so they could run off all that energy. They had friends, they had school, they had active lives and they had fun. If any of them would have been interested in sports, I would have encouraged that. We had backyard running races, family fun and all kinds of activities. We didn’t just sit around watching TV. In short, I let them do what kids do best, run and play.
I gave my kids pride. Children with good self esteem seldom react in anger. I always tried to make our home a safe haven as well. I gave them roots to fall back on. They were taught to know, love and respect themselves and others. We weren’t a goody two shoes family by any means. My kids made mistakes and so did I. Any outbursts were not reciprocated. I chose not to spank as punishment. Instead, there were applicable consequences for their actions.
I taught my kids to use their words. I’m a writer, not a fighter. Words are what I do best. Teaching my kids to solve problems with words was a given. Any time there was a problem, we gave ourselves a breather. I would suggest they punch their pillows instead of each other. Once the room was calm, we would sit down and try to work things out. I think solving problems this way really helped my kids take a non-violent approach as adults.
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