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  • Writer's picturePaula Robertson

Protecting our kids from violence

It's time to have a conversation about keeping our children safe....



I, like many others, have been deeply disturbed by recent reports of loss of life, injury and traumatic exposures to gun and domestic violence that our young people have been facing in our communities. Ensuring the safety and well-being of our children is absolutely paramount. In today's society, the threat of gangs and other forms of violence can pose significant risks to our children's health, safety and security. And. while we cannot completely shield them from all potential dangers, there are practical strategies we can implement to help protect our children from gang and other violence. Here are some key points to consider:


Open Communication: Establishing open and honest communication with our children is crucial. Encourage them to share their concerns, experiences, and any signs of trouble they may encounter. Create a safe space where they feel comfortable discussing issues related to violence without fear of judgment or reprisal.


Education and Awareness: It's important to teach our children about the dangers of gang involvement and other forms of violence. Help them understand the consequences of getting involved with gangs, including legal ramifications and the risk of physical harm. Raise awareness about the tactics used by gangs to recruit vulnerable individuals and empower your children to make informed decisions.


Positive Role Models: Surround your children with positive role models who exemplify values such as respect, resilience, and non-violence. Encourage involvement in extracurricular activities, mentorship programs, or community service initiatives that promote positive behavior and provide opportunities for personal growth.


Set Clear Boundaries: Establish clear rules and boundaries regarding involvement with gangs or participation in violent activities. Encourage your children to walk away from situations that may escalate into violence and to seek help from trusted adults if they feel unsafe or threatened.


Monitor Online Activity: Monitor your children's online activity and social media interactions to identify any signs of involvement with gangs or inappropriate exposure to violent content. Educate them about the potential dangers of online recruitment tactics used by gangs and teach them to safeguard their personal information and privacy online.


Community Engagement: We need to get involved in our communities and collaborate with local organizations, law enforcement agencies, and schools to address issues related to gang and other violence. Supporting initiatives aimed at providing positive alternatives for at-risk youth, like after-school programs, job training, and mentoring opportunities, is a step in the right direction.


Promote Conflict Resolution Skills: Teach your children healthy and effective conflict resolution skills, such as communication, negotiation, and empathy. Encourage them to resolve conflicts peacefully and to seek help from trusted adults or mediators if needed. Role-play scenarios to help them practice de-escalation techniques and assertive communication.


Know the Warning Signs: Notice the warning signs of potential gang involvement and other forms of violence, such as sudden changes in behaviour, withdrawal from family and friends, possession of weapons or drugs, and association with known gang members. Take any signs of trouble seriously and intervene early to prevent escalation.


Seek Support and Resources: If you suspect that your child may be at risk of gang involvement or exposure to violence, seek support from professionals such as counselors, social workers, or youth intervention specialists. Utilize any community resources and support networks to help access appropriate interventions and services tailored to your child's needs.


Lead by Example: Finally, lead by example and demonstrate non-violent conflict resolution strategies in your own interactions and relationships. Show your children that violence is never the answer and that there are constructive ways to address conflicts and challenges.


Protecting our children from gang and other violence requires a proactive and multi-faceted approach that prioritizes communication, education, positive reinforcement, and community engagement. By working together, we can help create safer environments where our children can thrive and reach their full potential.


Let's keep our children safe!

Be well,

Paula



Dr  Paula Robertson is a busy mom and a paediatrician with over twenty years' experience working with young people and their families. She is also a certified children's mindfulness teacher and Positive Discipline Parenting coach. You can find out more at paulathedoctoormom.com

Our AI wellness assistant has contributed to the writing of this article.




 

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