As a new mother I am becoming more aware of Violence that is portrayed in childrens books, programs and essentialy in some children themselves. So I have been thinking a lot about the subbtle violence we encounter every day , within ourselves and from others . As our stresses increase so does our natural instinct to fight back or run away . We often lash out in words or even actions against those from whom we feel threatend . This is a form of violence and is indeed the starting point for more obvious violence such as hitting etc.... I would like people to share there insights on how see the subject and how they are finding ways to over come it in themselves and how they feel the best way to teach others , and in my case their children , not to adhear to such Impulses. For surly these impulses are 'natural' as most children resolve to hitting or biting even before they understand the concept of such .

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Hmm no comments , I am the only one struggeling to bring light on these issues ?

Your comment about violence with a concern for children is very important. I really don't know where to find appropriate literature for children. But I would like to share sources of literature to help us respond to our children in a way that gives them the best chance to live peacefully. It can be alarming to see our children behaving violently and wonder how we should respond to it. So it is important to be able to anticipate our children's behavior at their various stages of development in order to be peacemakers for them. There is a Pendle Hill Pamphlet #126 from a lecture by Harold Loukes entitled "Readiness for Religion" that discusses the way children of different ages respond to other children and makes suggestion how to best respond to different situations to get the best results for the child. The pamphlet references a book by Ronald Goldman, READINESS FOR RELIGION published in 1965. Most of what was written then is still helpful now. There are a certain number of children who have a specially difficult time regulating themselves and for their parents I would recommend THE DIFFICULT CHILD by Stanley Turecki. These create a basis for understanding other material on raising a nonviolent child. There is a series of books for parent training published by STEP Publisher at www.STEPPublishers.com that demonstrate how to raise children peaceably. PET parent effectiveness training still provides a good discussion on what parents can do to raise responsible children. The Quaker emphasis of working with children rather than against them while being responsible to be the parent and guide and nuture them in Christ's name will be a helpful guide. I see this is not an answer to the question you asked, but I hope it is useful.

Hi Tamara

   Much like you I think,  becoming a parent really brought the issue of violence, in all it's many forms,  to light. When my children were nursing babies and small children, my husband and I shielded them, not always from stress, but from the pervasiveness of the violence in the world.  It was not always rosy, it was hard, but rewarding!   We were blessed to be able to do this, as this is not always possible in many situations.   As young parents, we strongly believed that everything begins with Love!  I gravitated towards other parents, organizations, and resources that supported gentle loving parenting. Parenting in isolation does not seem natural to me.  I helped other parents too! La Leche League was a wonderful resource in many ways.  The intentional community in which I live, provided me with the blessing of support of other families with similar values.   It was very helpful to learn and stay aware of what to anticipate at different developmental stages of children. Realizing again and again that we, at any age,  are humans who experience deep and varied emotions.  It does take a village.  How blessed we were to have loving grandparents, aunts, uncles, little cousins, (F)friends about us.  Within our Meeting as within other communities, my little ones saw their parents and other adults try to model and impart that feelings are OK, however they are not guides to our behaviors. We use words to express our feelings, needs and wants, and we treat others the way we want to be treated.  Words can "lash out", as you say, to be violent,  hurtful.   In my family, as Quakers, followers of Christ, and believers in non-violence, we try to not use words or actions to invade others, put them down, or hurt them.  As a part time parent-worker in my children's  cooperative pre-school, I learned to help children resolve conflict between each other by taking the time to talk and listen and express feelings.  It is a loving thing to help children learn that "we do not hurt others"when we are mad, we talk and work it out." Having clear boundaries of ok behaviors and not ok behaviors is absolutely necessary and very helpful for figuring out how to be in the world! I learned how important it was to be very consistent in interrupting hurtful or inconsiderate behavior.  I don't think my boys took their hands off each other until they were 15 or so, but this was mostly wrestling, roughhousing, and such things as throwing pine cones at each other!  I learned from other parents and a series of books such as "How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk", how to let "natural consequences" be my children's primary teacher, rather than parent-imposed artificial punishment.  The children's books we read (over and over and over!), as well as the few TV shows we watched supported our values.  (Chinaberry Books and the library were good sources for books.) Also, my children spent a lot of time outdoors with adults and with other children. We did lots of free form art, building , imagining, and lots of singing!  They always loved opportunities to be with other Quaker children.  If extra trauma has occured in a family, or if children have special needs, parents as well as children deserves special help and support.   I can't recommend enough:  For me -taking care of myself, having fun in life, learning to forgive myself, accepting my human-ness, loving myself, examining how we/I was parented and how I want to parent similarly as well as differently; connecting with other parents, deeply connecting to the goodness and love within ourselves, the Love streaming to us from the Divine, loving our children unconditionally - and giving them the gift of boundaries, and being able to learn from their mistakes,and feel proud of their own accomplishments. I hope there is something in my long ramblings that is helpful to you, Tamara. Blessings to you on this spiritual journey of parenting!  

Thank you Lee , I sertainly have a  lot of reading to do :) This information can be most helpful in my efforts to teach with appropriate steps . Understanding each individual child is the key . x Tamara
 
Lee Nichols said:

Your comment about violence with a concern for children is very important. I really don't know where to find appropriate literature for children. But I would like to share sources of literature to help us respond to our children in a way that gives them the best chance to live peacefully. It can be alarming to see our children behaving violently and wonder how we should respond to it. So it is important to be able to anticipate our children's behavior at their various stages of development in order to be peacemakers for them. There is a Pendle Hill Pamphlet #126 from a lecture by Harold Loukes entitled "Readiness for Religion" that discusses the way children of different ages respond to other children and makes suggestion how to best respond to different situations to get the best results for the child. The pamphlet references a book by Ronald Goldman, READINESS FOR RELIGION published in 1965. Most of what was written then is still helpful now. There are a certain number of children who have a specially difficult time regulating themselves and for their parents I would recommend THE DIFFICULT CHILD by Stanley Turecki. These create a basis for understanding other material on raising a nonviolent child. There is a series of books for parent training published by STEP Publisher at www.STEPPublishers.com that demonstrate how to raise children peaceably. PET parent effectiveness training still provides a good discussion on what parents can do to raise responsible children. The Quaker emphasis of working with children rather than against them while being responsible to be the parent and guide and nuture them in Christ's name will be a helpful guide. I see this is not an answer to the question you asked, but I hope it is useful.

Hi Alice

 

Thank you so much for your advise , it has already proven useful ! I think the reason I am finding the task so daunting is that we are Isolated parents who do not have any outside help . Niether of us have familys arround and we have little time or lack of resources to encorporate other groups or institutions . I home school as I am weary of not only the education but moral influences my children will get . Having a cultural barrier in the country I live does not make it any easier . What we accept is not always what is accepted in the world . I agree love is all nad believe that our examples to our children are the best teaching aids . We cant expect them to do things we dont do ourselves . Reciently this has been my focuse , to change any actions I have that are not calm or peaceful . Even in the smallest thing like how I controll my frustrations can be useful in comming accross to the little ones .

I would apprciate any support  Frinds can give regarding parentong intodays world . Thank you for all your warm and sincere advise . xx Tamara


 
Alice Bejnar said:

Hi Tamara

   Much like you I think,  becoming a parent really brought the issue of violence, in all it's many forms,  to light. When my children were nursing babies and small children, my husband and I shielded them, not always from stress, but from the pervasiveness of the violence in the world.  It was not always rosy, it was hard, but rewarding!   We were blessed to be able to do this, as this is not always possible in many situations.   As young parents, we strongly believed that everything begins with Love!  I gravitated towards other parents, organizations, and resources that supported gentle loving parenting. Parenting in isolation does not seem natural to me.  I helped other parents too! La Leche League was a wonderful resource in many ways.  The intentional community in which I live, provided me with the blessing of support of other families with similar values.   It was very helpful to learn and stay aware of what to anticipate at different developmental stages of children. Realizing again and again that we, at any age,  are humans who experience deep and varied emotions.  It does take a village.  How blessed we were to have loving grandparents, aunts, uncles, little cousins, (F)friends about us.  Within our Meeting as within other communities, my little ones saw their parents and other adults try to model and impart that feelings are OK, however they are not guides to our behaviors. We use words to express our feelings, needs and wants, and we treat others the way we want to be treated.  Words can "lash out", as you say, to be violent,  hurtful.   In my family, as Quakers, followers of Christ, and believers in non-violence, we try to not use words or actions to invade others, put them down, or hurt them.  As a part time parent-worker in my children's  cooperative pre-school, I learned to help children resolve conflict between each other by taking the time to talk and listen and express feelings.  It is a loving thing to help children learn that "we do not hurt others"when we are mad, we talk and work it out." Having clear boundaries of ok behaviors and not ok behaviors is absolutely necessary and very helpful for figuring out how to be in the world! I learned how important it was to be very consistent in interrupting hurtful or inconsiderate behavior.  I don't think my boys took their hands off each other until they were 15 or so, but this was mostly wrestling, roughhousing, and such things as throwing pine cones at each other!  I learned from other parents and a series of books such as "How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk", how to let "natural consequences" be my children's primary teacher, rather than parent-imposed artificial punishment.  The children's books we read (over and over and over!), as well as the few TV shows we watched supported our values.  (Chinaberry Books and the library were good sources for books.) Also, my children spent a lot of time outdoors with adults and with other children. We did lots of free form art, building , imagining, and lots of singing!  They always loved opportunities to be with other Quaker children.  If extra trauma has occured in a family, or if children have special needs, parents as well as children deserves special help and support.   I can't recommend enough:  For me -taking care of myself, having fun in life, learning to forgive myself, accepting my human-ness, loving myself, examining how we/I was parented and how I want to parent similarly as well as differently; connecting with other parents, deeply connecting to the goodness and love within ourselves, the Love streaming to us from the Divine, loving our children unconditionally - and giving them the gift of boundaries, and being able to learn from their mistakes,and feel proud of their own accomplishments. I hope there is something in my long ramblings that is helpful to you, Tamara. Blessings to you on this spiritual journey of parenting!  

My wife and I try our best to model the non-violent lifestyle for our children. It's unfortunate that in some cases we find ourselves reduced to screaming wackos, but we continue to try our best. But we don't allow violence in the home, whether violence between siblings or between us and them. We also do not allow them to partake in television shows and books that are designed to have them root for victory by violence. It's incredible how violent kids shows can be, especially Disney movies. But what we have found most interesting is how the violence in the Bible has affected them, it has really given us new eyes to see so much of the scriptures. Having read them so much, you can become somewhat calloused to the non-stop violence. But our little girls pick up on everything and have given us a new appreciation for Jesus and his alternate way of living, which is a direct contrast to thousands of years of wrong (or misdirected)  thinking. When our children get older (they are all three under age six), I will encourage them to expand their horizons to the extent that they are comfortable, but I hope and pray that the foundation we have taught and modelled for them will serve them well as they learn and grow.

Tamara,

'This is a difficult issue. Because I have no living children, I can't speak as a parent, so I am speaking as a person who has experienced a lot of violence in her lifetime--from other children (including a sibling), from a teachers, from strangers, in a workplace, in other areas. When I was almost 19, a young woman sitting next to me at work at a munitions factory went up in flames! (I was not a Friend then, and it was instrumental in changing my religious views). As much as thee yearns to protect thy children, theee cannot shield them from all harm--I wish thee could! But thee can foster strength in them, and I pray that thee'll have such a close relationship with thy children, at all ages, that if they suffer a trauma, thee'll be aware that something has happened and can reach out to them. At that time, I could not speak of that horrible event for 3 years, and it was very painful....

I've been a professional, traditional Celtic storyteller for over 2o years, performing as "Barra the Bard" in many venues. When I tell at Scottish Highland Games, I do NOT tell clan feud tales. Instead, I choose to tell wonder tales, inspiring historical tales, amusing stories, etc. There is no substitute for the immediacy of telling and listening, or of sharing a story from a book (they are not the same thing!). I hope that thee will explore storytelling with them. Studies have shown that oral telling/listening is beneficial in several academic areas--and affords opportunities to discuss the stories and values in them. Naturally, thee has to choose stories that reflect the values thee wants them to learn and reflect upon.

I'm also a writer, and lately, I have been meditating upon how I resolve plot complications and violence in my fiction....That has been providing me with much food for thought and consideration.

 

Of all the books I read as a child, one of the ones I loved the most was Marguerite De Angeli's Thee, Hannah! My mother delighted in getting me others of her books because they were always about intereesting cultures and children, beautifully illustrated, and thoughtfully written.

 

I hope some of my ramblings have been fruitful for thee....

 

                                                                                                                --Barra

 

 

 

Friend Tamara, I am not a parent, but as a former violent child who eventually got his head on straight, I sympathize with your struggles.

For introducing your kids to ideas of nonviolence, this university has a bibliography of picture books about nonviolence: http://www.bluffton.edu/lionlamb/biblio/picture/

From their list, I wholeheartedly recommend Ferdinand, especially because it models gentle subversion of the dominant paradigm, and The Butter Battle Book for its illustration of the futility of war.

I hope that helps, and wishing you Godspeed! You are doing important work.

Hi Tamara,

as a mother of a teenager I agree with you - as the stress increases when dealing with teenage behaviour and as the stress is increased by worry, fear or exhaustion, I find it very hard to remain calm and loving and think clearly instead of getting annoyed, angry, frustrated, hurtful.

I have yet to find a remedy that really works. Thinking about what's important and what's not before getting into a discussion has been a useful concept. Meditation is also helpful.

A concept that I find tremendously attractive is Marshall Rosenberg's non-violent communication, although you really have to practice a lot to get it "right".

I believe learning how to communicate clearly yet in a non-violent way with your children is SO important because an unability to do so can mean that the relationship deteriorates.

Cheers,

Susann

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