How to explain non-violence to children

How to explain non-violence to children
Source: Shutterstock

How to explain non-violence to children

Celebrate the nonviolence it does not mean simply repudiating war and remembering the exploits of Mahatma Gandhi. It means adopt a specific non-aggressive lifestyle towards the other, which is built day after day with small daily gestures. On the occasion of the International day of nonviolence, here are the tips of Elisabetta Rossini, pedagogist of Studio Rossini Urso, to educate their children in nonviolence.

In this article

What is nonviolence

Nonviolence is not an abstract concept or a simple political and historical stance on the use of violence to resolve social or inter-state conflicts. It is something deeper and extremely concrete: «It has to do with the kindness and respect towards oneself and othersThe expert begins. «It means making an effort to relate to others without diminishing or prevaricating, not implementing physical, verbal or psychological violence, blackmail, provocations, hostile attitudes. This is the daily violence to which we risk getting used to, more subtle because it has no sensational or macroscopic effects like a war ». It is therefore a kinder and more harmonious way of approaching life and others; but it does not mean be submissive or not to react in the face of wrongs: «The point is indeed do not do violence to ourselves, repressing certain negative emotions, but not even to others showing disappointment, anger and nervousness in an inappropriate way '.

Read also: How to handle conflicts in the classroom

How to explain nonviolence to children

One way of being is difficult to explain to children: it is much simpler, even if it requires constant and careful commitment show them what it means to be nonviolent: «It must be explained and educated little by little, every day, transmitted from birth with one's behavior. From respecting the line at the supermarket to not reacting recklessly if someone in a car cuts our way, our children always observe us and they introject our example. They have to see that we respect the rules and that the crafty ones cannot take advantage of us, but also that there is a way and way of expressing one's reactions. And being nonviolent means doing it in the right way, which does not hurt oneself and others ".

Read also: How to educate the child to legality

How to educate for nonviolence in kindergarten

To educate about nonviolence, use the method of positive parenting: «In the kindergarten age, but also later, children need guiding questions in the face of new situations. Stay next to them but taking a step back from the episodes and intervening in an interlocutory way: "What happened? How did you feel?". Start when they are very young, when they are not yet able to give a complete answer: the aim is to start a reflection in them which they will face over time ".

  1. Educate on emotions. First of all, a job to recognize emotions is essential. First by focusing on what the child feels, and then as he grows up, opening up and questioning the emotions of others. «Children need to experience a moment of childhood in which they feel free to show all the emotions they feel without feeling bad or wrong. If we immediately censor their outbursts due to anger or aggression, those emotions will become taboo and will tend to suppress them. Instead every emotion is right, but an alternative must be found to manifest it in a socially acceptable way. Our role as parents and educators is not to prevent them from manifesting them, but to ensure that they know how to recognize them and are not overwhelmed by them ".

  2. Rules and respect. If our children with us get used to a certain way of relating, in the future they will hardly take acts of prevarication. “If I feel respected, I do it with others: this means that the rules we establish are not imposed, but made to be perceived as good feelings towards them. You don't "have to" be nice or good, but "how do you feel when they treat you badly?"Limits therefore serve to live better with others and protect the respect of oneself and of others: I recognize what is not good, I do not accept it and I defend it but I do not behave in the same way." To show that the rules of behavior are natural and are not valid only for children, but we must be models: "The way we react if they pass us in a row is worth more than a thousand sermons".

How to educate for nonviolence in primary school

  1. Let them fight. Both as a child in the asymmetrical educational relationship with parents, and then towards the age of 5-6, when they learn to play with peers, we accept their quarrels: "In quarrels and conflicts we do not intervene in a censorious way or as executioners, decreeing who made a mistake and who nor. This is the opposite of nonviolence because it is imposing and it divides, saying that there is a good and a bad in that dynamic. Instead, the children argue to discover that there is someone else to take measurements with. If we intervene abruptly they do not understand that there is a limit, because we give it to them. Instead, let them learn on their own skin and experience the consequences of their actions ». Here too it is a question of asking the right questions: "He doesn't play with you anymore, why?"." At elementary school, children have to gradually smooth out the egocentrism of the first years and measure their reactions if they want to interact in harmony with others. adults have very frequently, since they are the first to not know how to manage the conflict ».

  2. Have them put them in the shoes of others. Knowing how to fight well also passes from a job that must be done constantly throughout primary school to develop empathy. The pedagogical approach is always the one that opens up possibilities for dialogue and helps to reflect on the dynamics underlying an episode without going into the merits, at least not in the first place. «The child, thanks to the presence next to him for years of an adult, slowly learns to understand how he feels and then begins to recognize and respect the emotions of others as well. "It seems to me that you are angry, what do you think?" it is a question that leaves reflection open to focus on one's moods and the starting point for putting oneself in the shoes of others. So the next step will be "How would you have felt if they'd done this to you?"Once again, not the classic lecture but tuning in to universal and" natural "rules to live better together».

Read also: How to educate children against homophobia

Games on nonviolence

  • Primary school. Physicality must not be scary and must not be censored: violent games with guns or fighting do not teach violence, on the contrary they allow children to vent their aggression in "acceptable" ways in the right and protected context of playing and doing fake. "Of course sometimes they will exaggerate, but it will mean that it will serve to take the measures with the limit so as not to get to hurt others."

  • Primary School. Also starting a team sport teaches the limits not to be exceeded: «If you don't respect the rules, the game is over; respect for the other, even in a context of "conflict" because the same but opposite objectives are pursued, is what defines the space beyond which one cannot go ».

Books on nonviolence

Primary school.

Let's focus on readings that talk about emotions and not necessarily explicitly about nonviolence. “They can be books about friendship or about quarrels. It is also important not to explain the meaning of the reading, but to see what they reflect in and how they felt in identifying with that story ».

  • "Sorry!" by Barry Timms and illustrated by Sean Julian (Sassi Junior, 2022)

  • "Flon-Flon e Musetta" by Elzbieta (AER, 2004)

Primary School.

With elementary school children you can also start from concrete situations and provoke discussions about that. "We give them the word and we welcome their every answer: they may not see the world as we imagine, but their answers are not wrong for this."

  • "Nonviolence explained to children " by Elena Giordano and illustrated by Rosaria Scolla (Jacob's Well, 2022)

Elisabetta Rossini he is Pedagogist of Studio Rossini Urso (together with his colleague Elena Urso). She is the author of numerous books dedicated to parenting, including "Parents must be reliable, not perfect" (Edicart Editions, 2022) and "Dudù and the magic torch" (Edicart Editions, 2022).

  • children education
  • bullying education
add a comment of How to explain non-violence to children
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.