Parents Play Key Role in Decreasing Aggression in Children
There are several things parents can do to insure that their child is neither the bully nor the child who is bullied by another.
"It is important to remember that parents are the child’s first and most influential teachers. Children learn by watching how parents behave in every situation they can see and hear. The best way to teach your acceptable behavior is to practice it in your home," said Hopp.
For example, if children hear adults shout at each other that will be the way they will address other people. Likewise, when an adult hits a child that is the role model the child uses to react to others when they are upset.
Hopp also recommends paying close attention to the house rules for acceptable behavior in the family childcare home or center your child does, or will, attend.
"Ask the director about the training and experience of the staff that work with the children. Ask the director how aggressive behavior is handled when it occurs. Be sure that the practices agree with your family practices before you enroll your child," said Hopp.
If another child in a center or family childcare home is actually hurting your child, then it is time for private, direct and honest conversation with the facility director.
"Be sure and ask what is being done to protect your child and what you can do to assist with solving the problem," said Hopp.
There is a third factor that can contribute to aggressive behavior in a child. American culture exposes children to violence in movies, computer games, television and violent toys.
"Parents must decide how much to limit children’s viewing of this violence and how to explain to their children what is and what is not acceptable when interacting with others. Young children do not come equipped with morals. It is the job of parents, teachers and community to help children learn how to solve problems without resorting to aggression," said Hopp.
For more information contact Hopp at the University of Missouri Extension Center in Jasper County, firstname.lastname@example.org, (417) 358-2158.
Reprinted with the permission of the University of Missouri. © 2008 — Curators of the University of Missouri
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