The recent mass shooting in Parkland, Florida has hit too close to home. I was watching the news as the terror unfolded and in those moments, I wondered how I could feel comfortable having my son attend Kindergarten. I want to protect him, but him not attending school is not an option. The questions start spinning in my head. Maybe I could afford a private school? What about home school or a virtual education? The truth is none of these options is a solution, they are just a band-aid to cover up a terrible epidemic. How do we increase school safety?
As moms, what can we do to stop the violence in our schools and increase school safety?
- Teach your children social-emotional intelligence: First of all, help your child learn to speak and communicate how they feel. Acknowledge they have emotions and validate them. The more we teach our children how to process how they feel in healthy manners, the less they take it out on themselves or others.
- Advocate for social-emotional programs: Furthermore, talk to your school leaders. What are they doing to encourage children to learn about their feeling and control their behaviors? If they are like most schools, they are doing very little. Tampa Bay has an amazing non-for-profit organization called Frameworks. Have you heard of it? They teach social-emotional learning at local schools, but many parents are not even aware that such organizations exist.
- Teach your child to be aware and speak up: Last, talk to your child about other children’s actions and how to have positive social interactions. Tell them that if something does not seem right with a peer or friend, they need to speak up and have confidence in telling an adult. The more aware they are, the more likely they will say something.
In conclusion, the reality of today’s world is that it is not the safe world we grew up in. Seems like things have changed and our children are growing up too fast. They are exposed to many things we never knew or had access to at their age. We cannot prevent our children from growing up, but we can make sure that they know what to do with their own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.