, Gloucester, MA


April 26, 2013

Recommitting to nonviolence in our families

The horrific events of the Boston Marathon bombings exemplify the most heinous use of irrational violence to forward an irrational cause. How could anyone, unless essentially brainwashed and, or deranged, think that the way to convert others to his beliefs is to kill and maim them? These actions are an extreme manifestation of ideologically motivated violence.

So what can each of us, in our daily lives, do to combat violence? We can use this opportunity to recommit to nonviolent verbal communication, and an emphasis on handling conflict and difficult behaviors in our families with a positive approach.

Raising children to be non-violent to themselves and others is one of the most vital parenting and societal goals because what families teach their children ultimately affects our world. I can think of no better time to share with you again some suggestions for behaviors that will help to foster a healthy, loving, non-violent environment in your home:

Teach by example. Be loving, patient and forgiving towards yourself. Don’t abuse yourself physically, mentally, emotionally or verbally.

Treat your mate with respect, and never engage in any kind of physical or verbal abuse. Be honest and direct about any feelings of anger and frustration, explaining, for example, “I am angry with you because you aren’t doing your share of the housework.” This is more productive than name-calling or listing past irritations.

Learn to deal with your stress. Read everything you can on stress reduction. Take a workshop in stress-reduction techniques or learn yoga and meditation. Exercise.

Be nonviolent in your dealings and disagreements with others. Act calmly, rationally and respectfully with relatives, friends, neighbors, teachers, sales clerks, athletic coaches, other drivers, etc.

Never hit your children or engage in any kind of name-calling or put-downs. The emotional scars of parental physical and verbal abuse are deep and long-lasting and the recipients of the abuse very often duplicate that destructive in their own future homes. When you are very angry with your children, leave the room or send them to theirs until you calm down enough to handle the upsetting behavior in a reasonable way. Then, use the direct “I am angry that you did or didn’t ...” method of expressing your displeasure.

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