Every day, headlines are becoming more devastating in the realm of school violence. Polarizing politics involving gun control and mental health regulations, make us overwhelmed and incapable of making positive and lasting changes. As a parent and mental health professional, I began thinking about what I could do. These are a few ideas that can be practiced in our homes to encourage us and our children to be bright lights in a dark world.
Making An Impact On School Violence At Home
Here are ways your family can make a positive impact on school violence, suicides and bullying.
- Diversify. Help your child build and value relationships with people of differing cultures and backgrounds. Appreciate diversity as a family. Get involved in activities within your community.
- Facilitate empathy for others. Looks for ways to serve and care for others. Is there a child who seems to be hurting or isolated? Invite them to dinner, ask them about their day, or simply say hello. Small extensions of kindness can be incredibly impactful.
- Listen. Listen to your child’s thoughts, feelings, and ideas no matter how important or inconsequential they may seem. This teaches them they are valuable and they matter. Modeling this at home will give them the ability to do the same for others.
- Move! Research increasingly shows the physical, mental and emotional impact of an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Bodies are designed to move! Large gross-motor and small fine-motor movements are essential for brain development. Movement aids in the production of dopamine-the neurotransmitter and helps control the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. Regardless of the age of your child, encourage them to physically play. Heck! Have some fun and play with them!
- Family first. Teenagers aren’t always interested in spending time at home. However, much of the school violence and trauma occurs because of children feeling disconnected from others. Turn off the video games and television. Enjoy a night bouncing around at a trampoline park, crafting, or going to a concert together. Prioritize connecting with your child.
Try these steps! Let me know how it went. My practice began in schools as a school counselor, and as a counselor to help parents renew relationships with their children. Now, adolescents are one of my favorite age groups to counsel. Call or email with any questions or comments! Our first time consultations are on the phone, 15 minutes and can help you determine your next step. You don’t have to do this alone.
Ashley Barkley, LPC
(940) 222-8703 ext.701