Crucial Character Trait
It could be
that the most important character trait of all is self-control. Why? The kids
who are named by parents, peers and teachers as having trouble with
self-control and aggression at age 8 and 10 tend to be the ones who fight and
get in trouble with the law at 17 and 18. It doesn't have that much to do with
I.Q., family income, or status of the parents' marriage. Being able to control
oneself and get along with others is the key. Therefore, insight into what
makes a child into an anti-social individual can help parents, teachers, and concerned
citizens help change that destructive pattern.
important to note that 80% to 90% of all homicides have nothing to do with
gangs and drugs. They are symptoms of spiritual illness and harmful
relationships. The good news is, most of our violent crime is preventable, if
we could just help young people cope with the forces that could make them "go
For many of
these children, they're caught in a cycle of abuse that has gone through
generations in their families. They may have been physically or emotionally
abused or neglected, or experienced harsh, inconsistent discipline. It leaves
them feeling angry and devoid of empathy for others. They may be ignored if they
behave well, and only get attention - shouting and hitting - when they're
"bad." Their homes often are basically nonverbal, and they don't learn to use
words instead of force to get what they want. They don't think or talk about
their feelings; they just react. That's why lower-income kids who are actually
angry misinterpret their feelings as wanting to have sex. Anger may be behind
the teenage pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease crises as well as the
teen violence and drug and alcohol crises.
grow up like that, it's almost like having Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. A
lot of your feelings become submerged and confused. And so you turn to the
illogical and insane lifestyle of using violence to communicate. Your ingrained
aggression acts like a learning disability: you refuse to live by the rules,
are nasty to your peers, rejected by peers and teachers alike, and that only
makes you more nasty, and getting in more trouble at home and in school.
a lot of the youths who get in the most trouble at school are among the most
intellectually gifted. They're smart enough to realize that their families and
their neighborhoods are not in the economic mainstream. So why even try to get
along with teachers and do well in school? Those students who do try to better
themselves educationally endure a lot of taunting and threats.
science scholars say a lot of this is due to "father hunger." Adult men are
best at helping boys manage feelings of aggression and accept authority. A boy
growing up in a home with his father feels protected and contained. Surrogate
fathers found through sports, school and the military can be helpful.
teachers who model civility and positive conflict resolution:
stock answers (automatic phrases such as, "I'm sorry you feel that way") to
humor (neutral, not ridiculing the other person) to lower tension.
sensitive to what you may say that may erroneously be perceived as a slight,
and be universally respectful.
kids that conflict is normal in human interaction.
time to explain about prejudice, and how it's normal, but can be erased or
kids that disputes don't have to have a winner and a loser, but with
negotiation, there can be two winners.
kids that to assert themselves nonviolently, they can avoid being a bully or a
like yourself more when your relationships are respectful and nonviolent, not
hostile and angry.