Knife Crime – A Parent’s Role In The Solution
Posted by: Sue Atkins
“Don’t wish it was easier; wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems; wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges; wish for more wisdom.”
~Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker
Rude and greedy behaviour among adults is contributing to the epidemic of gang and knife crime among children according to Sir Alan Steer, the Government’s top behaviour advisor.
On the growing problem of knife crime, Sir Alan said: “It is connected to a violent sub – culture. But we bear some responsibility. Sometimes as adults we don’t model the behaviour we want youngsters to follow. Of course the kids have a huge responsibility, but there are questions about what’s going on at home. Parents have a huge responsibility. Government doesn’t bring up children, parents do.”
In my work as a parent coach I help parents become far more aware of the influence they wield on their children. Whether it is through the words they use, or the actions they take, parents are a role model for their children throughout their lives – from toddler to teen – whether they are aware of it, like it, or even accept it.
Parents have a key role to play in the solution to knife crime, and although this particular social issue is of more relevance to teenagers than the under fives, it is never too early to set a child on the path of behaving responsibly. If the child is too young to make certain decisions themselves, then it is down to the parent to make these decisions on their behalf.
Set positive goals for the future – children who know where they are going are far more likely to succeed in life. Whilst it is fine setting goals with a child, it is discipline that is the key to bridging the gap between setting goals with kids and them being accomplished. Lots of kids find self-discipline difficult. It’s all about starting in small ways with little changes. A few simple changes can work wonders by getting them to move in the more positive direction of success. It’s the mentality of a journey of a thousand miles starting with the first step.
The wonderful thing that seems to stem from these small steps is that there is a knock on effect in other areas of their lives too as one positive thing seems to lead to another which builds greater self esteem all round very quickly.
Look at the people a child hangs around with – these are the people who influence their lives, either positively or negatively, and who can nudge a child off course, just a little bit at a time, until they finally say to themselves: “Gosh, how did I end up here?”. It is helpful to think about three key questions:
1. Who does the child spend a lot of time with (whether this is a child or an adult)?
2. What are these associations doing to or for the child? – What have these people got the child doing, listening to, reading, thinking and feeling?
3. Is this OK?
Once answered, it is then the time to decide whether these people are a positive and energising influence, or have a negative and downward-spiralling effect. There are then three choices:
- To disassociate from these people
- Limit their association
- Expand their friendships and associations to more upbeat successful people – ‘friendships of purpose’ – as these can sky-rocket their self-esteem & happiness.
Look at what you do – children need support and help from their parents, as well as teachers and other adults of influence around them. They need positive role models to nurture, guide and nudge them in the right direction and to support them through a change of direction.
It is helpful for the parent, or other adult, to role model goal-setting and self-discipline, even in simple ways, such as eating a piece of fruit every day, or walking the dogs for exercise each morning. It’s the simple, small things that lead to building great habits over time
“It’s about helping youngsters have a future to look forward to that they create and get excited about, whatever that may be for them. It’s about helping, influencing and inspiring one child at a time. It’s also about setting firm, fair and consistent boundaries so they feel the ‘tough love’ of being guided, protected and nurtured. It’s about being a positive and uplifting role model for them to follow. This is how we can slowly change, influence and enhance our society over time.”
It is about teaching kids the empowering philosophy of Jim Rohn:
“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of. You don’t have charge of the constellations, but you do have charge of whether you read, develop new skills, and take new classes. Walk away from the 97% crowd. Don’t use their excuses. Take charge of your own life.”