Children, through television, movies, video games and sadly, the reality of today's world, are constantly exposed to violent images, but are they receiving an equal measure of anti-violence messages to balance it all out? Unfortunately, the answer is in the negative.
Children need anti-violence messages from adults including their parents, teachers, sport heroes, community leaders, police, and everyone else who is significant in their lives.
These messages need to be given from early childhood. Children learn violent behaviors when they are as young as two or three years old. Psychologist Leonard Eron writes, "by the time children are 8 years old, violent habits are almost impossible to break."
One way of reducing future violence is to teach small children politeness and respect at home as well as school. Adults should model politeness and respect by their own example. They should most certainly avoid negative modeling. Every time one parent is disrespectful to the other or is verbally abusive in front of the child, that child is ashamed and humiliated. Thus, the probability of the child becoming disrespectful and violent increases.
It has been found that teaching and encouraging pro-social behaviors such as sharing, taking turns, talking things out, offering apologies and making requests in a proper manner, reduce violent behavior among children in kindergarten and elementary grades.
Other factors that have been found to reduce violent behavior include extra tutoring for aggressive children who have learning difficulties; courses in parenting skills for parents; teaching problem solving skills to children and their families, promoting family stability through family counseling, and community initiatives such as encouraging neighbors to cooperate and form coalitions against crime.
Two conditions make children potentially violent: too much exposure to violence and too little exposure to positive social behavior.
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