Children are exposed to violence everyday as they turn on the television, look on the computer, read magazines or stories. They see it in front of them and yet do not always know how to process this. If they also see and feel violence within their own home in how their families deal and react to them, this begins to teach them other things that may not be as healthy (not to say that the former list of items are healthy as most are not).
As parents we make many choices that impact our children. In regards to violence, one of the largest things that we have to decide is whether to spank or not to spank our children. The post today is not going to be a pro and con discussion about spanking, far from it, but this is something that falls into the discussion when talking about violence within the home.
All studies that I have been able to find agree that physical violence with children is detrimental to their development and self-esteem, and leads to teaching children that this type of violence if alright. The challenge is whether you as a parent believe that spanking fits into the category of physical violence.
Outside of this what I have come to find in my research is that there are alternatives to hitting that parents may wish to consider. First and foremost is to use words, and help your children to use their words to express their feelings. In an article that I found
in researching this topic they provided a list of eleven alternatives to violence that parents can take which is relevant here, they include:
- Begin providing guidance and limit setting as early as infancy
- Keep communicating your words to your baby and young child
- Show mild disapproval of undesirable behavior
- Discuss your feelings about what you see
- Empathize by putting yourself in their shoes
- Offer alternatives
- Redirect your child’s attention
- Be consistent and follow through (do what you say)
- Offer encouragement when your child follows through
- Thinking time – have your child sit with you and think about their actions and have him or her decide what they could do differently next time.
- Offer solutions and ideas with your child – sometimes they don’t know what to do and need your guidance.
There are challenging children out there who do not always seem to respond to these tactics, but most experts state that the most important thing for parents is to be consistent with discipline and not to waiver, especially between parents. Our children must know that their parents will have a solid front when it comes to their actions and that they can expect the same treatment no matter who they are with.
Your children must be respected and loved for the people that they are and must be able to feel that they are safe to make mistakes and are in a safe environment to grow and learn. The perpetuation of violent acts within a home whether between parent and parent or parent to child breaks down a child instead of building up a child.
Some questions you should ask yourself include:
- How do you react to your child when you are upset?
- How do you currently disipline your child?
- How is the way that you are disciplining your child helping them to become a better person?
- Are there any actions that you are taking that break down your child’s self esteem? If so what are these, and what can you do to build it back up again?
As you begin to answer these questions you may find it necessary to revisit them over time as your answers and definitely the answers about your children will change as you all change and grow.
In researching this topic I came across a few sites that I thought that I would share with all of you: