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Parents and teachers should be careful not to play down aggressive behaviors in children. In fact, certain factors put some children at risk for developing violent behaviors as adults. These factors include the following:
Parents can teach children nonviolence by controlling their own tempers. If parents express anger in quiet, assertive ways, children may follow their parent's example. Children need to understand when they have done something wrong so they can learn to take responsibility for their actions and learn ways to make amends. Responsible parenting does not to tolerate violence or use it in any way.
Efforts should be directed at dramatically decreasing the exposure of children and adolescents to violence in the home, community, and through the media. Clearly, violence leads to violence. Parents can use the following strategies to reduce or prevent violent behavior:
The most important step that parents can take with aggressive children is to set firm, consistent limits and be sure that everyone caring for the children acts in accord with the parents' rules and expectations.
Parents should know the importance of helping children find ways to deal with anger without resorting to violence. Children can learn to say no to their peers, and they can learn how to settle differences with words instead of physical aggression. When children control their violent impulses, they should be praised.
All children have feelings of anger and aggression. Children need to learn positive ways to express these feelings and to negotiate for what they want while maintaining respect for others. Parents can help their children develop judgment, self discipline, and the other tools children need to express feelings in more acceptable ways and to live with others in a safe way.
Author Info: Aliene S. Linwood RN, DPA, FACHE, Thomson Gale, Gale, Detroit, Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health, 2006
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