In the first part of this two part series, I discussed that there is an ample amount of violence in American culture because we demand it. In the conclusion of my two-part series on how parents can stop mass shootings, I’ll discuss specific steps parents can take to help their children.
Keeping America safe starts at home when your children are young. Instilling into your children that they are precious to you and your family is a great way to build an emotional foundation that values human life. If children value themselves, they will value others. Let them know that you love them and hug them as often as they’ll let you. Don’t let a day go by where your children don’t know you love them.
Another way to help your kids grow up to be good, law-abiding citizens is for you exemplify that behavior. Children are always noticing how you interact with people, the music you listen to and how you react. Be an example of a good citizen to your children. This way they’ll have real life experience on how to face the ups and downs of life.
Pay attention to the media your child is consuming. This includes YouTube, online streaming services, movies and video games. Games and Apps have ratings that all parents should know. These ratings are on a national scale and each family should look at what is appropriate for their household. Make sure you you know what games, movies and videos your children are watching and talk to them about how they interpret what they see.
If children value themselves, they will value others.
From your home promote a peaceful lifestyle. Your children will at some point hit each other or say something hateful. When these occasions arise, handle them appropriately. Let your children know that violence isn’t a way to solve problems. When they forgive and react peacefully, praise them for making good behavior decisions.
This doesn’t mean we raise a generation of docile pushovers. I mean just the opposite. We need to raise insightful, empowered children who will stand up for what’s right and know that violence is a last resort, not the answer. We need to raise children who will be brave enough to speak up when they see a classmate making threats and defend themselves against such attacks. The next generation in America needs to be stronger than any generation that has come before it.
The next generation in America needs to be stronger than any generation that has come before it.
There may come an uncomfortable time when you realize that all the love and support your give your child may not be enough. Some children will need help beyond their parents to live a productive life. Be strong enough to recognize that your child may need psychological support beyond what you can give them. There is no shame in seeking treatment for a mental illness.
There are warning signs that a child might need help beyond their families. Parents need to watch for signs that include:
- First violent event at a young age
- Cruelty towards animals
- Victim of bullying
- Discipline problems or resisting authority
- Lack of empathy
- Trouble controlling anger
There are many more signs to look for. You can find more from the American Psychological Association. These signs do not mean that a child will become a mass shooter, but they do indicate issues that need to be understood in context. Parents are not always responsible for the actions of a mass shooter, but they are close enough to act when trouble starts. Engaged parents need to be the first line of defense in a mass shooting.
This seems like an uphill battle. But remember this is America. We’re always moving forward. We once had segregated schools and smoking sections in restaurants. My son won’t know those things because America rolled up it’s sleeves and tackled big problems. We can do it again.
I believe that America is the greatest country in the world. But we have a violent cultural influence. To protect our future generations we need to teach our children today that they are valued, to value others and understand that violence isn’t the answer to life's problems. Pray for our country, our people and that our future generation would be pacemakers.
For more on preparing your family for an active shooter, you can read this article I wrote just after the tragic events in Las Vegas. If you’d like more information on how to keep your family safe in public please consider The Secure Dad Newsletter.