The Role of Parents in Preventing School Violence
Parents and/or guardians play an essential in school violence prevention. Demonstrating an interest in their children’s lives is one of the most important steps parents and/or guardians can take to help prevent youth violence. Open communication between children and their parents or guardians is critical.
Topics for Parents to Discuss with Children
- Their school’s discipline policy. Parents and/or guardians should know the policy, communicate their support for it, discuss the reasons behind it, and expect their children to comply.
- Their school’s safety and security procedures. Parents and/or guardians should know the procedures, make certain their children know them, and communicate why they expect their children to follow them.
- Their own positive household rules, family values and traditions, behavior expectations, and the reasons behind them.
- Violence in television shows, video games, movies, and books. Talk about the impact of violence in the media and its real-life consequences.
- How to solve problems peacefully.
- The value of individual differences.
- Their children’s concerns about friends and other people who may be exhibiting threatening or violent behavior. Parents and/or guardians should share this information with the friends’ parents or guardians, a trusted adult at the school, or other appropriate authorities in a way that protects the confidentiality of their own children as needed and possible.
- Personal safety issues and appropriate responses to them.
- Their children’s day-to-day activities, accomplishments, concerns, and problems.
Actions Parents and/or Guardians Can Take with Children
- Model appropriate behaviors. Demonstrate healthy ways to express anger and relieve stress. Do not show anger in verbally or physically abusive ways.
- Watch their children carefully for any troubling behaviors. Parents and/or guardians should learn the
warning signs for at-risk children and how to get help from school or community professionals.
- Take an active role in their children’s education. Visit and volunteer at their school, monitor their schoolwork, and get to know their teachers.
- If asked, participate in school safety planning sessions.
- Initiate or participate in violence prevention groups in their community, such as Communities that Care and Mothers Against Violence in America.
- Get to know their children’s friends and families. Establish a network to exchange information with other parents.
- Monitor and supervise their children’s reading material, television, video games, and music for inappropriately violent content.
- Monitor and supervise their children’s use of the Internet. For more information, see Ways Parents Can Supervise Children’s Use of the Internet
- Check a child’s bedroom and other rooms for signs of violence ideation.
- Talk to employers about having special considerations for parents and/or guardians who want to participate in school activities.
- If needed, attend anger management, parenting skill, or conflict resolution classes offered by the school or other organizations.
- Establish and consistently enforce household rules and reward positive behavior.
- Provide quality child care for their children.
- Promote a healthy and safe lifestyle by prohibiting the illegal or irresponsible use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs in their home.
- If needed, seek out support groups to improve parenting skills or to manage anger and frustration.
- Provide a quality after-school environment for their children.
- Monitor and supervise their children’s whereabouts (where they are, how they can be reached, and how to reach their children’s friends’ parents). Encourage and facilitate their association with friends who seem to reinforce good behavior. Make their home a place where children and their well-behaved friends are welcome, comfortable, adequately supervised, and safe.
*Some information derived from Security Research Center’s “Guide For Preventing and Responding to School Violence”.