Given all the violence in the news, are there things you do to raise children who are peaceful, loving and kind?
Take a moment and evaluate how well your family is doing in several significant areas:
1) Is our family life full of stress? We all have stress. But too much stress over long periods of time depletes our abilities to cope. People reach a breaking point and sometimes act out in violent and aggressive ways. Are our stress levels manageable?
2) Do family members support one another? People do better at coping with stress when they have support. Everyone needs love, caring, affirmation and regular support. Do we provide support for each other?
3) Are we vigilant when it comes to monitoring our kids? There are simply too many dangerous influences in the culture. We have to keep on top of what kids are exposed to and what they bring into our homes. Privacy, in my opinion, is overrated in most households. There has to be supervision and screening of media. Kids and teens are not mini adults. They need guidance. You can’t guide when you don’t know what is going on or are too busy.
4) How well do we communicate? Without communication, you won’t know what is going on in the minds and hearts of your kids. You need to ask because they won’t always volunteer information.
5) Do we have healthy ways to resolve conflicts? Are we modeling and teaching anger control and nonviolent ways to handle life problems? Are we teaching problem-solving skills, conflict resolution and patience?
6) Do we have appropriate and effective discipline in our home? Do we provide consequences for problems behaviors? Are we consistent and predictable? Not too rigid or not too lenient?
7) Do our children know what is right and wrong? It is our job to train up our children. Have we provided a strong spiritual and moral framework for living? Does our family understand how to employ nonviolence?
8) Do we show family members unconditional love? We need to discipline and correct children but our love is unconditional. Does everyone feel loved no matter what? This is God’s way.
9) Do we have connection and intimacy? So many violent people are loners and feel disconnected to people. Relationships take time to develop intimacy. Take the time, spend time with your kids and know their hearts.
10) Do we address mental health issues when they present. Prevention is possible when we take to heart getting our family members help when they show signs of dysfunction. Don’t live in denial or wait for something terrible to happen. If you need help, contact a professional mental health expert.
11) Do we have strong and meaningful relationships with our children? This is the number one protection for any teen risk behavior.
12) Are we prepared to model nonviolence? Jesus was nonviolent. He showed great compassion for people. He stood His ground but did not become aggressive, violent, foul-mouthed, disrespectful and hurtful to others. His gospel is radical in that it teaches us to love our enemies, pray for those who use us, bless those who curse us and turn the other cheek.