Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nurturing Tolerance in Kids and Stopping Violence

Our children needs to be guided whenever and wherever they will go but there are instances in their life that they are the once to decide on what to do. Just like in choosing friends at school. They are the one who decide of whom they make friends at. That is why we need to have constant follow up with their daily activities because they might be involving themselves in some groups or gangs which will ruin their whole being. The question is how do we make sense of these vicious acts by children? Let’s start by looking at what these attacks have in common.

For example:

  • all are hate crimes
  • all involved middle-school-age students
  • all were motivated by a single media incident
  • all were organized on Facebook
  • all incidents involved “mobbing” ( a group of kids who encouraged each other.

All of these common causes of attacks may not be all present in the school where your child is schooling but most likely one of those really happened. If it is, then here is what to do. Below are five reasons to learn from the incident.

1. Limit or prohibit Facebook for tweens. Many middle school students are too young for Facebook.

Research already shows that cyberbullying and bullying peaks when kids are in their tween years, and peer pressure also peaks during these ages. When it comes to Facebook, don't be afraid to set clear limits -- or just say no!

2. Watch your child's media diet. Media does influence children. If you had any doubt, these incidents should be proof. Watch your children's media diet carefully. Put firm limits on what your family views on television and on the internet, and voice your concerns to anything objectionable.

3. Boost empathy and tolerance at younger ages. Tolerance is learned, and so is hate. One-time talks about empathy, respect and kindness don't cut it. These lessons must be woven into our children's daily lives by respectful, caring adults.

4. Talk to your children about these incidents and voice your objections. Don't be afraid to push your values. Voice your objections over and over. Be a model to your children because if you are strict in pushing your values but not in action then it’s a useless idea.

5. Hold kids accountable for cruelty. Hate as well as unkindness should never be tolerated. There is no excuse for cruelty. Ever!

Just keep in mind that children are not born hateful. Hate and intolerance are learned through the environment where they are in. It is the obligation of the parents and adults to nurture them with good values and examples.


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