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Parents: Be Role Models

Parents and caregivers are vital to the healthy development and growth of young children. We all know this, but what can we do better to enrich our children? Helping children learn more about themselves and their environment can be a key step in preventing school and youth violence. Parents want children to be safe, and children want to feel and be safe. The following information will be both helpful to you as a parent as well as to your children. So take the time to read and make time to share this with your children. Violence prevention begins with YOU. Remember to make time to listen, talked time to talk.....these can be precious moments.

  • Nurture your children to show that you love them. Every day, tell them that you love them and show affection with a hug, a kiss, or a touch. Make time for special family fun activities. Also, meet your child's friends to ensure that they are getting positive influences.

  • Understand emotions. Children who don't know how to control their anger are more likely to fight. Teach children how to calm down and talk over their problems. Keep in mind that anger is real, but it usually goes away. To calm down, think about or do things you enjoy. Once you have calmed down, think about the problem with a clear head. Take steps to solve the problem.

  • Communication is a two-way street. Children who have good communication with their parents are more likely to ask for their advice than turn to peers. When talking to your child, always remember to LISTEN to your child. Find out what your child knows about violence and how to prevent it before you start talking. Let your child know they can always talk to you about anything.

  • Respect is such an important trait for everyone involved. Many youth fight because they feel disregarded and , as a result, feel angry, humiliated, or embarrassed. Respect means that you need to give respect so you may get respect. Stand up for yourself without putting yourself in danger and discuss ways to solve problems without fighting. Respect is not gained by physical force or intimidation but by the quality of your character.

  • Education helps everyone benefit. Take interest in your child's education and development. Read to your child and encourage your child to read. Meet with your child's teachers often and learn about your child's progress in school.Review homework and tests, Give your child household responsibility/chores. Children who aren't interested in school, who have friends who use alcohol/drugs, and who are not bound by rules are more likely to use alcohol/drugs.

All of these pointers can be helpful in becoming a great parent. Do what is the most beneficial for your child by helping them become a good and caring citizen in our society. For more on family relationship development for good mental health contact Mental Health America at 1-800-969-6642 or log onto

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