Creative Child

Raising Non-Violent Children

by Rebecca Eanes

Continued...

  1. Build a secure attachment as early as possible. A strong emotional bond is the first defense against violence. The first three years of life is referred to as the attachment phase of development. All children need someone who quickly responds to cries and shows them warmth and affection. This builds trust and makes the world feel safe for the child. Attachment security is a crucial factor for emotional and cognitive development. Attachment trauma occurs when a child does not have at least one secure attachment with a caregiver. 
  2. Use positive discipline. Harsh discipline such as spanking, slapping, and threats of violence have been shown time and again to raise levels of aggression in children. These common discipline tactics are traumatic whether we survived them ourselves or not. I believe the first step to a peaceful society begins here - in how we discipline young children. In addition to physical violence, children are often subjected to emotional pain for disciplinary purposes. Even time-outs can trigger feelings of abandonment and fear which inflict wounds we cannot see. Replace punishment with problem-solving to teach better behavior without inflicting trauma. See here for positive alternatives to punishment.
  3. Facilitate tantrums rather than squashing them. Rather than responding by ignoring, shushing, or threatening, parents can offer compassion and empathy while still holding any necessary boundaries. Read more about how to respond compassionately to tantrums here.
  4. Teach emotional intelligence to children. According to research, children with high emotional IQ are better equipped to control negative impulses, even when things aren’t going their way. A high EQ gives children the ability to cope with their feelings, soothe themselves, and relate well to other people. Often parents try to punish or cajole away a child’s anger or sadness, but if a parent can instead empathize and teach him how to handle those feelings, he will benefit from higher emotional intelligence and the array of benefits that come with it. Here is an excellent article on how to raise an emotionally intelligent child. 
  5. Create a supportive home environment where children are seen, heard, and treated with respect and where they are always physically and emotionally safe. Make sure that healthy relationships and behaviors are modeled in the home. Teach siblings to solve conflicts peacefully. 

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If we want to reduce violence in our society, we must reduce traumas in childhood. We can all do our part to show love, respect, and compassion to the children in our lives. World peace begins at home.

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 

 

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