Who is in your child’s life? Take a look around and notice all the people who are in your child’s world.
The closer that someone is the greater the influence. So, your immediate family is his first model of how relationships work. The home is a laboratory in which children observe and test out different social behaviors. For example, I have written in the past on the association between bullying in schools and home. You can find all the posts on bullying by clicking on the tag at the bottom of the page. At the bottom of each post, select “Next Page” to go to the next one on bullying.
Today take a moment and write down all the places where your child is observing others interact. Family, friends, extended family, your friends, his brother’s friends, her friends parents, teachers, your boss or colleagues, teammates, classmates, families in your community, your church, temple, etc.
Of course, there are all the people who enter your home through the T.V. and other media outlets. Do not forget those people. The influence is weaker than the actual people but not absent. How does a young child learn to talk like a teenager? They watch the Disney Channel.
One a piece of paper put a small circle in the middle of the page and arrange the people in your child’s world around him — try to represent the distance (physical and psychological) from him. Which of those people are teaching peace? Who can you count on to model compassion and keep harsh words and actions out of your child’s life? What do you want to change?
Is there someone close to your child who needs some help to avoid harsh reactions or avoid exposing your child to violent media? Almost everyone is doing their best but that might not be enough. During times of stress, we need to help each other when we get tired or overwhelmed. We aren’t going to stop any hostile reactions by getting hostile right back. I think that most of us know when there is a problem and we know that we will have to make a change. Make this week the week that you find a way to make a change.Decide what it is that needs to change: I am sure you will think of a way.
Don’t forget that there is help. There are therapists, parenting programs (check out Collaborative Problem Solving, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, ThinkKids), neighbors, friends, babysitters, websites, schools, and more. Use them.