|How to Raise
Steve Frisch, Psy.D.
How can parents raise their children to be nonviolent?
Heres an important rule for you to embrace and integrate into your parenting
practicesnon-violent children are nurtured, not mandated.
The most important variable that influences whether or not your child will grow to be
non-violent is the quality of the emotional connection that you develop with your child.
Quite simply, it all hinges on instilling in your child a sense that theyre deeply
loved and respected.
How best to instill a
sense of love and respect?
1.) Create an emotionally safe relationship with your child. This means that your child
must feel that it is safe for them to express their feelings to you without you censuring,
limiting, or judging their feelings. By making it safe for your children to express their
feelings to you, they will be both practiced and more comfortable expressing themselves
when theyre feeling troubled by events and circumstances in their life.
2.) Fulfill your
childrens emotional needs. Children need to believe that their emotional needs
matter. All too often children get the message that their emotional needs are an
inconvenience that parents dont have the time to decipher or consider. But be
mindful of how fragile your children are. Know that their need to be loved, accepted,
affirmed, and validated by you never ever lessens. If your children dont experience
love and affirmation at home, they will simply seek love and acceptance
elsewhereoftentimes in ways that are dangerous to the well-being of themselves and
3.) Provide clear and
strong limits that are consistently applied. Your children need for you to articulate
whats appropriate and whats not appropriate behavior. And they need you to do
so consistently. If they sense that youre not paying attention to them, they will do
everything they can think of to get your attentionagain, using ways and means that
can be dangerous to the well-being of themselves and others.
4.) Create a strong
emotional connection between yourself and your child is teaching your child how to
effectively resolve conflict with others. This means that your child must learn how to 1.)
Take responsibility for their behavior, 2.) Acknowledge to others when their behavior
negatively impacts others, 3.) Acknowledge the negative impact that their behavior has on
others, 4.) Make amends to others when their behavior negatively affects others.
Although the creation
of a strong emotional connection with your child is a complex, taxing undertaking, the
four elements listed above form a solid foundation for such a bond. Without this your
foundation, your child will be greatly disadavantaged when it comes to coping with
adversity and taking responsibility for their actions. With such a foundation, you are
insuring the fact that your children will be less vulnerable to acting out and resolving
the adversity in their life in a violent way.
1.) Commit to making your relationship with your child emotionally and physically
2.) Commit to speaking to your childs feelings rather than their logic.
3.) Commit to empowering your child to claim and freely express their emotions.
4.) Commit to resolving interpersonal issues with your child rather than ignoring them.
5.) Commit to setting limits for your child.
6.) Commit to attaching consequences to your childs misbehavior.
7.) Commit to making the fulfillment of your childs emotional needs a priority.
For more information
about how to develop a strong healthy emotional connection with your child, read Dr.
Frischs, Psy.D. free online books, Entering the World of Your Child:
How to Nurture Your Childs Spirit and Building Better Bridges: Creating
Great Relationships With the People Who Matter Most.