When parents send their children to school, they do so without giving much thought about parenting skills because they hope that the teachers and school administrators will protect and take proper care of their kids and so, there will not be any problem for the safety of the children. But unfortunately, we see a lot of violence happening in schools also. The school shooting incident that happened at the Sandy-Hook Elementary School at Connecticut is a glaring example.
In general, preventing violent incidents in schools seems to be an uphill task. It is not that the school administrators are not taking any steps for the safety of children. Some of the schools have arranged police deployment for patrolling, a few others have got metal detectors installed in their institutions and so on. Apart from the administrators, teachers are also making all-out efforts for preventing violent behaviors. But, student population is quite high and hence, there is always a scope for improvement in the safety measures that are adopted by teachers as well as school administrators.
Adverse effects of violence and violent behavior in schools
One of the most adverse effects of violence and violent behaviors in school is that it will negatively impact the school morale. The school administrators will be forced to cancel many activities that involve children. But, children will like only those schools that have a great ambiance for various types of activities that interest them. If such activities are canceled, children may not like the school or may slowly start resenting schooling itself. Some of the students may lose interest in studies also. If such an ambiance continues in schools, there may be more anger among students who may become rebellious also.
Continuously happening violent occurrences and behavior will certainly affect the grades of the children. The social behavior of the children may be affected which means there may be withdrawal symptoms among some of the students. A few of them may be affected by low self-esteem also. Weak-minded children may succumb to peer-pressure and so, they may also start indulging in violent behaviors.
Though preventing and tackling school violence is everyone’s responsibility, parents have a greater responsibility than all the others. Parenting involves guiding children appropriately so that their children remain strong-minded.
This means that parents should not take school violence lightly and must not commit the mistake of leaving the responsibility only with the school administrators. They should also get actively involved and can help the school authorities design suitable programs for anger management, peer mediation and counseling. The intention of organizing and conducting these programs is for helping children get rid of violent behaviors.
Of course, parents need not get trained in great parenting skills for involving themselves in such activities. It can be draining for them to do so because they are already carrying out the arduous task of managing their families but nonetheless they have to undertake this task also due to the seriousness of the prevalent situation.
Children are exposed to a lot of violence and aggression through television, newspapers, the Internet, magazines and other types of media. This exposure plays a vital role in creating a negative impact on their behaviors.
The first task parents should do is to ensure that such an exposure is reduced as much as possible. But, this suggestion may not be very much practicable. So, parents should discuss with their children about the acts of violence they are exposed to and explain to them that these are rare occurrences.
Effects of constant exposure to violence
a) Children may become insensitive to the sufferings and the pain of others.
b) They may start fearing everything.
c) They themselves may have increased aggressive or violent behaviors.
What so parenting experts advise?
It is the parents who play the most important role in molding the character of children. They alone can help children learn how to navigate through the ups and downs of their lives. So, they should monitor what children are browsing on the Net, what they are reading in magazines or newspapers or what they are seeing on the television.
Parenting tips for reducing the effects of exposure to violence on children
a) Parents should motivate and educate their children as to how to enjoy entertainment shows and educational programs.
b) They should keep a watch to find out the contents children see on the television and plan their strategies accordingly.
c) If parents come to know that their children have seen violent behaviors on the TV or any other medium, they should discuss with them and educate them that there are non-violent methods to resolve conflicts and violence is not at all necessary for providing happiness to everyone.
d) Children should be made to understand the differences between reality and what is not real.
e) Parents can provide other fun alternatives to children other than watching television, etc.
f) Parents should spend sufficient time with children and understand them. They should talk to them to find out about their studies and what is happening in their schools.
g) They should set fixed timings for watching television. They should make sure that no violent programs are aired on the TV during the set timings.
h) Parents should ensure a peaceful environment at home.
i) Very importantly, parents should avoid negativity in their talks and activities. This is for infusing a positive attitude in children.
If they follow these parenting tips, they can reduce the effects of violence on their children to a great extent.