Good Behavior-Not Violence

— Written By Shirley Rush and last updated by
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Violence—-means the use of physical force to injury or abuse someone, destructive force, to damage property etc.

When we pick up the newspaper or look at the news on television each day we can hear or read some acts of violence in the world we live in and even our immediate community. Also, nearly every day the news reports stories about children committing acts of violence, often against other children. We as parents, grandparents and citizens of this world must take preventative action to help prevent violence.

Research has shown that violent or aggressive behavior is often learned early in life. However, parents, grandparents, family members and others who care for children can help them learn to deal with emotions without using violence.

Parents play a valuable role in reducing violence by raising children in safe and loving homes. Here are suggestions that can help. You may not be able to follow each one exactly, but doing what you can will make a difference in your children’s lives.

Love and Attention

At an early age every child needs a strong, loving, relationship with a parent or other adult to feel safe and secure. This is essential for a child to develop a sense of trust. Behavior problems and delinquency are less likely to develop in children whose parents are involved in their lives, especially at an early age.

When children feel safe and secure, they learn to trust other people. Children who don’t feel safe can be anxious and unhappy. This can affect their health and learning. But when they learn that they can trust the adults around them, it helps them grow up happy, healthy and to enjoy the world around them.

There are certain basic needs that a child has and we as parents must show our children that they can count on us to meet those basic needs by showing love and taking care of them in a safe environment.

It’s not easy to show love to a child all the time. It can be even harder if you are a young, inexperienced, or single parent, or if your child is sick or has special needs. If your baby seems unusually difficult to care for and comfort, discuss this with your child’s physician, psychologist or a mental health provider. He or she can give you advice and direct you to local parenting classes that teach positive ways to handle the difficulties of raising children, there is help available.

Supervise your children

Without proper supervision, children do not receive the guidance they need. Studies report that unsupervised children often have behavior problems. Know where your children are at all time and who their friends are. When you are unable to watch your children, ask someone you trust to watch them for you. Never, never, leave young children home alone, even for a short time, not even to run to the store right down the street.
Model good behavior before your children

Children often learn by example. The behavior, values and attitudes of parents and siblings have a strong influence on children. Values of respect, honesty and pride in your family and heritage can be important sources of strength for children, especially if they are confronted with negative peer pressure, live in a violent neighborhood or attend a rough school. Be firm with your children about the possible dangers of violent behavior. Remember to praise your children when they solve problems constructively without violence. Let them know how proud they have made you and continue praising them for following the rules.

Stand by your rules and discipline
Sometimes it it hard to set rules and enforce them but be firm. When you make a rule, stick to it. Children need structure with clear expectations for their behavior.

Parents should involve children in setting rules whenever possible. Explain to your children what you expect, and the consequences for not following the rules. This will help them learn to behave in ways that are good for them and for those around them.

We all have a duty to work toward making our home, school, community, county, and world a safe place for our children to grow up to be productive citizens in this world. For additional information, contact Shirley Rush at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Office at 875-2162 or email shirley_rush@ncsu.edu.