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Limit Chances Of Violence To Youth
By Chantel Lott
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Parents' concerns are rising about the violence in the schools their children attend.
More and more parents are searching for information to educate themselves and their children about the risk of violence in school. Some preventative measures can ease the anxiety of parents and of children.
"The best method to help protect your children from violence while in school is to talk with them on a daily basis about school, about other children and about life," said Louise Davis, a child and family development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Active communication between parents and children is a valuable asset."
Another way parents can oppose violence is to encourage participation in organized activities where supervision is usually provided.
"The key idea is to let your children know that you care where they are and what they are doing," Davis said. "Keep up with the events in your child's life, and don't hesitate to ask where they are going and who they are going to be with.
"Encourage non-violent discussions with friends and siblings, bearing in mind, that children witness arguments between parents, too," Davis said.
Children learn by examples they see.
"Teach your children to discuss their frustrations, and help them exercise non-violent problem-solving solutions," Davis said.
"Discipline children without violence. A slap or a spanking as punishment may show them an example of aggressive problem- solving," Davis said. "Be aware of other ways that may make a greater impact on your child, and be consistent with your discipline.
Monitor children's viewing of violence in the home and the community. Teach them to stand up against violence, to calmly, bravely and firmly respond to threats or insults.
Fortunately for concerned parents, there are usually warning signs for violent behavior. Some signals include: consistently not listening to authority; disregarding the feelings or rights of others; threatening others with violence as a solution; expressions of life being unfair; frequent unjustified absences; alcohol or drug use; or being a previous victim of violence.
"The more signs identified in a certain youth, the more likely violence is to follow," Davis said.
The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators listed making noise, chewing gum, cutting in line, running in the halls and dress code infractions as the main student-related problems reported by teachers in 1940. In 1990, the reports, which cited suicide, rape, robbery and assault, exposed a new theme in American schools violence.
For more information about guiding youth development away from violence, visit the Children, Youth and Families At Risk (CYFAR) website at www.nnfr.org/violence.