Creative Child

Raising Non-Violent Children

by Rebecca Eanes

It’s difficult to look around at our world today and not become disheartened, if not entirely fearful. Violence and brutality are far too common, and little is done to address the why of the problem. We throw blame to the wrong things for such unspeakable acts, and then we call for justice (rightly so), but no one seems to be looking to stop this behavior at its root, and its root begins in early childhood.

Many people blame exposure to violence through media as the reason for our problems. Violent tv shows, movies, video games, and plastic guns are said to corrupt brains and desensitize us to violence, but many psychologists today do not believe this is the cause for violent behavior. Instead, they agree that we must look to the infant and toddler years to understand why some people become violent. 

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According to developmental psychologist Aletha Solter, there are two basic reasons why children become violent. The first is trauma. Children who hurt others are usually children who have been hurt through abuse and neglect. The second reason is repressed emotions. Young children need to be allowed to cry and to have an empathetic caregiver who can listen and soothe them when they’re upset. When these feelings are not allowed to surface and be heard, they build up inside. Sometimes these emotions explode out in the form of violence.

Let’s discuss what parents and caregivers can do to address these two basic reasons for violence so that we can raise non-violent children and create a more peaceful society.

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