How to Protect Your Child From Violence

There’s been a lot of bad news lately. It seems like every time I pick up a newspaper or turn on the news something terrible just happened.

If you go on social media it seems like everyone is talking about it.

But none of this does anything to actually make the world a better place.

I’m not saying that we don’t need to be informed. Of course we do! It is important that we know about the major events in the world.

But it’s equally important to use that knowledge to both take action and to protect small beings from over-exposure to violence.

The human brain can’t distinguish between types of violence. It’s all the same to your brain, whether it’s the news, movies, video games, or other forms of media. Small beings are especially vulnerable because they do not always differentiate between real life events and pretend.

There is beauty around you and there are people doing wonderful things in this world. You will miss them if you let these events overwhelm you and your family.

There’s a way out! Here’s how to inject more sunshine into your family’s life in the midst of terrible tragedy:

1. Do not watch the news when your small beings are around. Tell the children who are old enough about the events using carefully selected language and without graphic images.

2. Stop binge watching the news altogether. Watch enough to know what’s going on, but then turn your television off. Watching live footage of a shooting does not improve the situation; all it does is focus your mind on bloodshed. The more you think about and talk about violence the more your brain looks for such acts and conversations.

3. Carefully consider the other media your small beings watch. Many movies, television shows, and video games are full of violence. If your small one (or you) is spending hours playing a game that involves shooting people for entertainment, you are sending your brain mixed messages about violence. Overexposure to violence, real or pretend, has an impact on your moral compass by normalizing violence.

4. Find ways to engage with your small ones. Sitting and watching television together as a family is not actually family bonding; it is parallel play. (Click to Tweet) Interactive play is what builds relationships. If you want your small being to learn about true connection with people, then start by connecting with them yourself. Play cards, Monopoly, or charades, anything that requires you to interact directly together. (And you can sign up for my choice list of games here.)

5. Teach your small beings about giving back to your community in a hands-on manner. Maybe they help with a community garden, volunteer at nursing home, or work at a fundraiser. Do what is right for your family but make sure to do something. Being connected and caring about people outside of our families and ourselves connects us with the world.

The recent violent episodes present us with an opportunity. We can use them as inspiration to teach our small beings to focus on positive images and to be connected with their loved ones. Now is the time to make that happen.

Insight Into Action!

Parents and Teachers: Which of the above strategies are you going to use? Take the next five minutes to make a plan to implement it.


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