School violence is a very important topic but a difficult one to discuss. Bringing it into a child’s awareness seems like exposing them to danger. The truth, however, is that ignoring the potential of school violence does not make that threat disappear. Parents and teachers need to take the initiative to shield their children from gun violence through knowledge and training.
Gun Violence Prevention Begins at Home
Be their confidant
Establish a good relationship with them. Be supportive and loving. Listen to them and acknowledge their feelings. This way, kids will trust you, let you know strange things going on at school, or inform you if they are having issues comprehending the threat of gun violence.
Build their self-esteem
Giving children positive encouragement and supporting them with their new ideas is really important to build their self-esteem. Making sure children feel heard will empower them to be not only more confident but also more vigilant. When children have strong self-esteem, they more likely have the strength and courage to get themselves out of tough situations.
Eliminate Physical Punishment
Spanking, to some parents, is acceptable but children may think that hitting is normal and become accustomed to violence, making them less aware of when a situation is becoming dangerously violent. It may be harder to talk to children about school violence when they experience physical bursts of anger at home.
Lead by example
By setting an example of being calm and controlled in cases of emergencies, you will help children to avoid panicking if a crisis does hit. As children tend to admire and try to emulate the behavior of their parents or teachers, leading by example everyday will, overtime, help kids to develop healthy responses to moments of panic.
Be a responsible gun owner
There is no gun violence if there is no weapon to use in the first place. Keep your firearms away from your children. Store them safely, keep them unloaded, and separate the ammunition’s storage for double protection.
How to Talk to Children about Gun Violence
There is no single reason why people turn to gun violence, which makes it harder to explain to children. It can be a scary conversion and so it’s challenging to discuss it without adding to a child’s numerous fears. Moreover, adults have to be careful not to expose children to gruesome stories that are unnecessarily detailed and fear-provoking.
Early elementary school children
Keep the discussion short and simple for children this age. Reassure them that their school is safe and adults are there to protect them. Remind them to keep safe by keeping doors locked, letting parents and teachers know where they are or will be going, and to follow security policies and emergency drills at school.
Upper elementary and early middle school children
Be equipped with more information so you can answer these children’s questions. They could be more vocal and concerned than younger children and might know more about recent gun violence events. Give them realistic scenarios and realistic responses to school violence situations.
Upper middle school and high school students
Be prepared to be more patient and understanding as these children most likely have formed strong and varying opinions about school violence and the society. Let them know that they could help keep the school safe by not allowing strangers access to school grounds and reporting to parents and faculty any suspicious behavior or possible threats. Also, if they have concerns, let them know that they could reach out for emotional support from you, a professional, or the school’s counselor.
School violence is a sensitive topic but it is something parents and teachers have to take courage in discussing to keep children safe. Talking to children about your worries and listening to them in return can prevent school violence from occurring and save lives.
If you are a school administrator and have interest in a group training session for your staff, please contact us at https://inaheartbeatllc.com/contact/ to learn more about our group SAVE classes. Follow us on social media for more updates, facts, and tips on active violence and safety: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.