Steps to preventing violent situations
Former Staff Therapist Sarah Bauer, MS, MFT has experience working with clients experiencing domestic violence, trauma, grief and loss, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. She has worked with children, teens, and adults through crisis and domestic violence situations at various organizations.
Whether we view it on TV, read a news article containing violence, or experience it firsthand, violence is commonplace in our everyday life. The World Report on Violence and Health states that violence, as per the CDC, causes more than 1.6 million deaths per year worldwide among individuals ages 15 to 44. While this statistic is daunting, the positive news is that, according to an article from the Pew Research Center, the rate of violence and violent crimes has decreased over the past quarter century by about 48 percent. When thinking of violence in relation to the statistics, it evokes the question: How might we forestall violence, especially violence that may be occurring to us? The following are some valuable tips to help prevent violent situations.
1. Practice “positive punishment” with children
Violence or violent behavior may be a result of issues with adherence to others. Providing children with positive attention, encouragement, and being involved with their activities can help a child learn to create positive attachments of their own. Positive punishment, while sounding contradictory, is a useful tool to teach children right from wrong. Instead of violent punishment, which may teach children that violence is acceptable, positive reinforcements such as explanations (when appropriate) and guidance are useful tools to help children understand why they needed discipline without introducing violence.
2. Connect with others in the community
Understandably, people have busy lives. To stop and breathe during the course of one’s day may take some planning; let alone committing to “another activity”. Even so, connection is an important tool that can help reduce violence. Many individuals who commit violence do so because of a lack of social connections. They may feel isolated or not cared about; these are the people we need to connect with the most. As many can recall the one kid sitting alone at the lunch table, or maybe you were that kid; the feeling of solitariness can be overwhelming. That person needs connection with others the most. Sitting with that person, even just acknowledging them, may provide them with hope, or a lifeline to reach out to another to address these issues as opposed to addressing them through violence.
3. Stop glorifying violence
The amount of violent events covered by the news continues to increase as a result of the need for entertainment’s “shock value”. The attention received by individuals who commit violence is negative, but it is still attention. This may be the only attention an individual receives as an unfortunate result of loss of connections within their lives and when we as a society praise or glorify violence, individuals may feel this is the only way to gain attention. This is not to say that ignoring violence or not talking about violence is a solution, it is not, but talking about violence as a preventable matter as opposed to idolizing it is important for prevention.
4. Cultivate emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence can be thought of managing emotions of oneself and others. When we can understand how we are feeling and why we are feeling it, we can start to understand how to control it. For example, someone may hurt someone else. You immediately get angry, because you recognize that it is not right or okay to do that. As a basic example, recognizing why you got angry is a step towards gaining emotional intelligence; the ability to recognize why you are feeling this way. When you recognize why you are feeling anger or the need to be violent, preventive factors can be implemented. If someone is violent in nature, this can be a negative coping strategy to dealing or working through an emotion such as anger or fear.
Former Staff Therapist Sarah Bauer, MS, MFT has experience helping clients experiencing domestic violence, trauma, grief and loss, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. She has worked with children, teens, and adults through crisis and domestic violence situations at various organizations. Interested in therapy? Request an appointment today.