A fight breaks out between two sixth grade boys during lunch. One of the boys pulls out a gun from his back pocket and starts to shoot into the crowd surrounding him. Four children and one teacher fall dead. Who is to blame for this awful outcome? The parents who have brought the child into this world, or the school where he spends most of his days?
This is a common issue in todays society. Many of us feel that society should tend to our children, and that all of us are equally to blame for a child that turns to violence. But shouldnt the parents take the responsibility for their childrens behavior? In my opinion they should take full responsibility for how their children behave. There are many things a parent can do to raise respectable children, eliminate child abuse, educate themselves to benefit their children, reduce their childrens stress, become a good role model, and teach their children respected values of society.
One factor under the control of parents contributing to violent behavior in children is child abuse. There is no doubt that early child abuse and neglect place one at increased risk for adult criminal behavior. In a study at Indiana University they found that 26% of child abuse and neglect victims became juvenile offenders and 17% were arrested for violent crimes (Verny, 1997).
Education given to parents before their children are born and through out their childs lives would greatly reduce these numbers and stop the cycle of violence. It is the parents responsibility to teach their children positive social values. There are many things that educated parents can do also to help their children become more well-rounded and healthy individuals. Most parents today work full time, leaving less time for them to spend with their children. This however should not stop those parents from teaching their children how to become ethical, responsible people. Americas future depends on our raising children who will become soulful citizens, people who have values and beliefs that society approves of, with the skills, confidence, and commitment to make a difference in the world. (Loeb, 1999). From the moment of conception there are many things a parent can do to influence their children, parents can show them happiness, sharing, respect and how to make healthy friends. Just volunteering one hour a week of your time, can show your children sharing and compassion towards others. Studies have shown that socially active kids do better academically and that volunteering for only one hour a week makes a child 50 percent less likely to abuse drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes, or to engage in destructive behavior. (Loeb, 1999).
My experience has been that children today are lashing out against the world around them because of childhood stress. Todays society is forcing children to cope with stress at a younger age. The television, newspaper and even radio are all delivering the news to children that there has been a neighborhood shooting, diseases and viruses killing mass groups of people and even a war in the middle east. For most children these news stories are very disturbing. A study last June by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that 18.7 percent of children who visited pediatricians offices in 1996 were identified as having psychological problems related to their social environment (Garland, 2001). Based on my own opinion the social environment children live is an indirect result of how society views social issues that are portrayed on television. Of course parents cannot protect their children from all stress, but there are ways to reduce it. Parents should teach their children to confront stress and get their feelings out to talk about them. This will help them to release some negative energy that they hold inside and to absorb positive energy (Keith 2003). Positive energy is considered good or kind actions, words and thought being used and guided throughout life.Positive energy can be considered doing good things for yourself and others. Studies have shown that gentle massage stimulates the same part of the brain that violence is controlled by (Gambill, 1985). This study showed that when you massage your children and give them lots of contact with you, that the part of the brain that controls violence is shut off.
It is also important to become good role models for our children. Show them how to have fun and be responsible also. Jackie Montreuil, of Farmington, New York, showed her 4-year-old daughter, Jillian, a newspaper article about children who had helped save a whale named Keiko. I wanted to do something to help others too, says Jillian. With her mothers help, she decorated a jar with stickers and a ribbon, and then she collected pennies from family and friends. With the $7.50 proceeds, Jillian decided to buy some groceries and donate them to the local food bank. Montreuil also encouraged her 7-year-old son, Ben, to give 25 cents of his weekly allowance to a charity of his choice, often the local animal shelter. (Loeb, 1999).Becoming a role model like Montreuil had done sets a good example to your children. They will take that knowledge of sharing with them all throughout life and it will have a big impact on the adult they become. Some other things a parent can do to become closer to their children are to play with them outside, walk them to school in the morning, and read them a good book before bed time. As our children get older and the world becomes more hectic we lose touch with our children and think that they are fine. But if we were to sit down with them and talk for an hour a day we would learn how sensitive and vulnerable they are and how we need to show them greater interest.
Because of parents failing to teach their children values, morals and ethics, increasing numbers of public schools are starting a program to teach our children values (Kase, 2001). This program was derived from a Christian Fundamentalist minister, violating the separation of church and state, and thereby raising controversy over whether you agree with the values that your children are learning at school (Kase, 2001). If all parents took the time to teach their children their own values, we would not have this disagreement. Do we really want someone elses value system being taught to our children?
Out of all the possible reasons that children turn to violence there are few answers that make sense. Education, love and being open to new ideas should be a good start to turning this nasty cycle around. If all parents did a few things to alter the way they raise their children such as eliminating child abuse, educating themselves to be better parents, reducing stress in their families lives by shutting off the television and talking, becoming positive role models for their children and peers by volunteering, and teach their children the respected values of society such as honesty, trust and sharing it would make a immense impact on future generations to come. In my opinion we dont need to pass more laws to fight violence in this country, we need to get to the route of the problem that causes violence, and educate all parents and future parents. In my opinion I believe that better parenting will make the world into the peaceful dreamland we all yearn for.