Help Children Change: What You Teach Today Factors into Kids
Lynne Namka, Ed.D. - © 2007
A recent survey of police officers showed that aggression is increasing in elementary schools and many schools do
not have or do not use the resources that are available to deal with violence and bullying. According to the
survey, children are acting more aggressively at a younger age than ever before. Prevention is the key here to
helping children. Teaching children to express their anger in safe ways can help break into this cycle of
Today’s society reinforces anger and violence. Children are attracted to models who take what is wanted by force
and shirk responsibility for misbehavior. These angry times are setting the stage for more and more acting out in
children. Old-fashioned values of respect, compassion and caring are falling by the wayside. Young people need
skills that help them make intelligent choices and deal with the anger around them.
Many children today feel a loss of personal control. Unpopular children often do not form bonds with others. They
may turn to antisocial behavior, seeking activities which are stimulating to them. Children without friends feel
alienated from the higher concepts of respect for others and democracy and become turned off to school activities,
often resorting to alcohol and drug use and gang behavior.
A recent review of alcohol and drug prevention studies shows that social deficits correlate with behavior problems
and alcohol and drug use in young people. Teaching social skills was effective in both preventing and helping
reduce troublesome behavior. Anger control, assertiveness, anxiety reduction, relaxation and problem solving were
some of the skills identified to help young people deal with stressful situations which led to unhealthy
Teach Young People the Skills They Need
Young people can learn to reconnect with the positive
values of treating each other with respect and taking responsibility for their own behavior. Social skill training
focuses on developing reciprocal affective behavior between children. The climate changes to a positive way of
thinking--“Let’s help each other and include everyone in our play groups.”
Most children cannot deal with strong expressions of anger, frustration, sadness, fear or guilt. They have not
learned the skills of expressing negative feelings in a comfortable manner. Some young people use ineffective means
of coping with stress such as turning to alcohol and drugs to squelch their negative feelings.
Activities that emphasize seeing things from another person’s perspective help children decrease prejudicial
thinking. Groups provide a natural setting for children to learn the pro-social skills necessary for success.
Young people are hungry for tools to deal with conflict. Children who are adept at positive social interactions
feel more in control of their lives. Social skill training increases self-esteem and the ability to solve problems.
Social skills are easy to present in groups. Children can learn to reconnect with positive values of treating each
other with respect and taking responsibility for their own behavior. Emphasis on social skills changes the school
or community environment to positive ways of helping each other.
Some children do not have a certain skill (“Can’t Do” child). Others children have the skill but are not motivated
to use it (“Won’t Do”). Others have the skill but haven’t given themselves permission to use it in a certain
setting (“I’m Too Scared to Try”). Children have to feel good about their ability regarding a specific skill within
an environmental setting before they choose to use it.
Lynne Namka, Ed. D. is a happy psychologist, mom, grandmother, author of anger release books and
founder of Talk, Trust & Feel Therapeutics. Her is mission is to promote peace in the world by
teaching people positive communication skills. Helpful information and techniques can be found at
www.AngriesOut.com and www.TimeToLoveYourself.com. Copyright © 2007 Lynne Namka, Ed.D. All
rights reserved. Permission granted to reprint this article on your website without altercation
if you include this entire copyright statement and leave the hyperlinks live and in
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