Violence, Physical Activity and Non-Physical:
In this Article we will discuss education without violence and also its physical activity and non physical types.
It is necessary to set limits for the child. The role of parent, of educator, is to train the child to become an adult, but not just any adult, as much as possible, a fulfilled, happy adult, respectful of his fellow human beings and of the laws. All of this at once, of course the role of parent is difficult, delicate, exhausting too, and yet it is possible. A hundred times on the job you’ll do it again, education is also a lot of repetition.
You won’t be a perfect parent or parents, in any case there is no such thing, and your child who has reached the charming age of adolescence will always find something to reproach you for (you can sometimes admire their creativity).
Violence begets violence.
Humiliation, belittling and more or less disguised insults: «You’re dirty, you’re a pig… Can’t you do that? At your age I was doing better… «, «You’ve done something stupid, you’re mean… you behaved like a little idiot… Oh! Really, what did I do to deserve such a child?»…».
Expectations too high: «Work harder! You can’t get grades below 16… We’re going to see your grandmother at the hospital, you’re a big boy of 4 years old, you’ll stay quietly in the corridor waiting for us, we’ll only be a few hours… »
Harassment: Failure to respect a minimum level of privacy for the child, harassing him/her with questions or reflections on his/her school work, food, friends, activities…
Neglect: Failure to take care of school work, to take care of the child’s health, to talk to the child very little or not at all, to leave the child in front of the television for hours, to let the child go to bed at any time, not to impose limits on the child…
I have only touched on the most common ones, but unfortunately there are many others.
You can get help from specialists (shrinks, educators…). One question first: Is there more shame when you keep quiet and only think about yourself or when you admit that you are not perfect and need help to improve?
Learn to respect yourself and others so you can teach your child to respect himself, yourself and others. Clear up prejudices, discrimination, judgements…
Learn to understand the way you work: What makes you angry? How can you calm down? How can you get help from the other parent, or from someone else? Accept your strengths and weaknesses, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Parent discussion groups or workshops can also help.
Limits in question
Limits must be set, but what are they? Think, learn to see from a different point of view than your own.
You have to believe in the rules yourself. Your child will feel if you tell him not to put his elbows on the table but you don’t think it’s important (and you’re doing this because of your mother-in-law for example).
And you yourself will obey these rules, except for rules directly related to age and/or physiological constraints, you will have to explain to the child «You are still small, you need more sleep than I do, but when you grow up you will also be able to go to bed later. You are taking your medication because you are sick… I don’t take medicine, I’m not sick! ».
Common sense. Think about the logic of what you’re proposing. Do you want to punish your child for refusing to eat when it’s time to eat? Just ask your child to taste a little bit of each, turn the meal into a taste learning game, ask him to guess what each part of the meal is. If he’s not hungry, don’t force him to eat, he’ll eat more at the next meal. Do you really want to teach your child to eat without being hungry? Then you’d be teaching your child about obesity.
Don’t ask the little one at the end of the year to understand that the vase given to you for your wedding by your in-laws is a valuable and fragile gift and that you shouldn’t try to catch it. You don’t want any damage: secure the place, totally or partially, (for example, secure the room where you spend a lot of time and let your child on the floor, as well as his room).
Make choices: either forbid to touch certain things (but it can’t be valid for the whole house, let’s remain reasonable), or not put the child in it (like the garage for example), or make everything safe; you can mix these different solutions: everything is safe except the garage to which the child has no access, and there is still a danger with an object you want to keep within reach: the only rule for the child will be not to touch this object, it’s reasonable for him (depending on his age).
The child learns by exploring his environment. He needs limits, but too many would prevent this exploration-discovery of the world.
Try to understand your child, ask questions, try to put yourself in your child’s shoes, see what you can do to help and what your child can do. Help him to verbalize what is happening inside him, for him.
Example: Your child’s grades are slipping. Try to figure out what’s happening.
Is your child working less? Is the school teacher humiliating him or her in class? Is he being bullied? Is he tired at school because he sleeps less? Has he not understood the basics and therefore, even while working, he cannot follow or understand? Is he in good health?
Don’t ask him all his questions directly, but ask him to talk to you about school, about his life, if he has any problems he would like to talk about…
Understanding, compassion, empathy.
Get to know
First of all, before setting limits, before wanting your child to be able to do this or that, it is important to know what he or she can do. There are some generalities that need to be adapted to each child (some are faster, some slower, some shy, some expansive, some big sleepers, some small sleepers…):
0 to 1 year: the baby, the infant.
They do not generally start to sleep at night until they are 3 months old (which corresponds for the little ones to 5 hours of sleep in a row at night) and at the age of 1 year 25% do not yet sleep at night.
They do not really differentiate the parents from the others (from birth there is an olfactory recognition) until they are about 8 months old, this is the famous 8th month anxiety: your child used to smile at everyone and then as soon as you introduce him to someone he starts to cry: this is normal, before he didn’t really know the difference.
Around one year old, the first steps of walking and the first words, the first steps towards independence, there is still a long way to go.
During this period the child needs a lot of attention, contact, words, gestures that comfort him… His brain is very malleable, it is full of information (colors, noises, textures…), the child learns a lot without us seeing much of it.
2 years: the age of «no», your child says «no» to everything, even if it is to do things later, he opposes because he is different from you. By saying «no» he says «yes, I am me», «no, I am not an extension of you». This is the beginning of autonomy.
You have to set the limits, teach him the rules of living in society «you don’t hit» .
Before the age of 6 or 7, children find it difficult to distinguish between reality and fiction, they can tell false things believing that they are true, so we can’t talk about lies (and therefore punish them for it), but also be careful: listen to your child, they don’t necessarily say false things.
It’s just a few tips: it’s up to you to invent your own and be creative.
Explain to your child that you too have been subject to child rules, «You know when I was your age, I was too? ».
Empower the child: Give them tasks, praise them when they succeed, if they don’t, help them and praise them. Give him/her essential tasks when you take care of household chores: «You absolutely have to toss the pan, do you think you can do it?…. Can you take the glass off the table and put it in the dishwasher? That’s great! Now you’ve cleared the table by yourself! You’re tall, you’re good! You’re great! You’re good! ».
Put it in play to play your role as a parent: Your child doesn’t want to take his bath, give him his baby so that he can wash his «child» as you wash yours!
Get the child to talk, ask them to explain why they have problems with certain things, so you can make a «battle plan» with them, not against them. Negotiation can help.
Dedramatize but respect your children’s fears (first by listening), but teach them to laugh and use humour. Use their imagination and your own:
«An evil monster lurks in the room once the lights go out…? But know that monsters feed on fear and if you make fun of them they die! So if the monster appears, what do we do?
– Let’s cut off his head!
– That’s right, we cut off his head! And what else?
– We tell him he’s a naughty, ugly, ugly man!
– Yes, ho!
Instead of confronting the child, we confront his fears with him. We teach him how to reassure himself… which won’t stop a little night-light, if the child asks for it.
Set a good example, go and brush your teeth at the same time. If that doesn’t work, make an appointment with the dentist to explain why it’s important to brush your teeth, play at brushing each other’s teeth, play at being the one who spits the fastest when the timer rings for the 3 minutes of brushing.
Warn and explain
We warn, explain the rules beforehand, and make sure that the child has heard and understood what we have told him or her.
Imagine that you arrive in another country, you reach out your hand to someone to shake it, there people jump on you and imprison you. Are you shocked by this unfair treatment? But in this (imaginary) country, reaching out your hand is an aggressive sign, a death threat? How could you know that? How can a child know that something is wrong? Because we explain it to him.
Everybody talks to someone who is doing another activity, later you say «but yes, I told you about it», when you tell about the occasion when the person tells you that they didn’t hear. Would you be right to argue with that person because they didn’t take into account what you told them, if they didn’t hear?
So when you give rules to a child, there are aids:
Get up to the child, make sure they are looking at you, be quick (children’s attention span is lower than adults’), make short sentences, repeat several times, explain why, and ask the child if they understand, you can ask them to explain again to show you that they have understood, you can ask them to explain again to show you that they have understood.
We warn him that if he doesn’t respect the rules he will be punished, that there will be no discussion, we ask him again if he has understood (once everything is said we can even add a kiss and a hug).
Make the most of
When your child does something good, tell him. Encourage him.
How many of us ask our partners (if they don’t do it on their own) to tell us that they love us? Even though we know it, it’s always nice to hear. Be careful, I am not talking about here, it is not in the context of «good behaviour», but just from time to time, when you feel like it.
Without humiliating him and respecting the human being that he is.
You can isolate a child who has a seizure, but sometimes all they need is attention to calm down, and sometimes it is very difficult to learn to tell the difference between a whim and real pain.
We explain our punishment to the child: what he has done wrong, why he is being punished, what he will have to do next time.
As soon as possible, choose a natural consequence type of punishment:
Your child spills his bowl of soup when you specifically asked him to stop fiddling with it. Instead of sending it to his room, have it cleaned up (saves you work).
Did your child write on the wall? A bowl, a sponge, soap and the child cleans up his mess!
We can also talk about punishment or reparation rather than punishment, we punish the behaviour, while we punish the person. We always love and respect the child; it is the behaviour that is the problem, not the child.
My kid pissed me off and I hit him!
Unfortunately that happens. It wasn’t a good idea, it wasn’t a good choice, but sometimes we get out of hand, so what can we do?
Your child starts to drive you crazy, take a deep breath, if you have the possibility to give it to someone else (the other parent, a grandparent, a daycare center…) until you calm down. Remember to breathe.
Practice isolation, place the child in a safe space (his room for example), explain that you are tired, that for the moment any further discussion would only make you angry, that you need time to yourself and cut short. Go and think about something else, sometimes it only takes a few minutes to totally decompress. If you’re very angry, go to your room and find an outlet: grab a pillow, bite on it, growl, hit it (always the pillow), scream into it, try to tear it up, put your nerves on it, it will prevent you from doing it on your child.
2: You hit him:
Explain to him honestly that you shouldn’t have, that you shouldn’t hit people but that you were: too angry, scared, tired…
Let’s take an example:
Your child runs, he goes across the road, you see a car coming, you catch him and slap him. «I’m sorry I hit you but I was so scared for you, the car could have killed you… »
The child knows that you are not perfect, and neither can he, of course, remain his model even if you are fallible.
I’ve been abused myself, am I fucked?
No, of course not, you can always get out of it, no matter what you’ve been through in life, there’s always hope to rebuild yourself, to meet someone who can help you, to read a book that can turn everything around, you can’t forget the hope that the concept of resilience represents.