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  Home  > Child/Family Wellness  > Myth: Society's Encouragement of Violence and War-play Overrides Parents' Influence on Children

Myth: Society's Encouragement of Violence and War-play Overrides Parents' Influence on Children

Fact: Through the environment they establish, especially by their presence and commitment to nonviolence and personal practice of connection skills, parents have many opportunities to foster their children's healthy development and resiliency.

In sports and entertainment, in our homes and our communities, children are exposed, on a daily basis, to violence--real and fictional. Today's children sense that the adults in their lives cannot guarantee their safety; a reality that is reinforced by many parents who believe likewise.

Children in the US today live in a society that is substantially more violent than any other Western democracy... a violent crime occurs in our country every 17 seconds, affecting approximately one out of four households. —Janice Cohn

In inner-city, middle-class, and affluent suburban schools, children tell stories of robbing, killing, drug use, domestic abuse, and of kids being shot or kidnapped. Some of the scariest stories come from children who live very privileged lives and have not personally experienced these acts, but are afraid they might. The chances of a child being kidnapped, for example, are extremely small, but it is virtually impossible to convince a child of this:

They don't care about statistics, ...if it can happen there, it can happen any place. All they know is what they feel. —Janice Cohn

And research shows that well-publicized violent events--assassinations, riots, bombings, killings, and kidnappings--raise children's anxiety and color their worldview. Although their immediate environment may be relatively safe, they often do not feel safe. The sad truth is that hardly a child in America today has not learned that the world can be a dangerous and hostile place.

Little wonder that parents feel overwhelmed, impotent, and afraid. However, our children are dependent on us to keep them safe and protect them from violence--physical and emotional.

Fostering Resilience
The Impact of Media and War Play
Banning War Play?
Promoting Healthy and Creative Play
Teaching Nonviolence
Raising Compassionate Courageous Kids

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