(5.) Boost empathy and highlight the victim. The best answer for preventing violence is to boost empathy in our kids. It makes violence an unthinkable option! So nurture empathy and stress the impact violence has on victims. Ask often: "How would you feel if that happened to you? How would the victim feel? What about his family?"

 

(6.) Learn peaceful problem solving. Our kids are bombarded with violent ways to solve problems. So teach them how to do so peacefully. This simple way uses the acronym STAND: (1) S: Stop get calm; (2) T: Tell the problem; (3) A: Name Alternatives; (4) N: Narrow to safe options; (5) D: Decide on the best option. Do it. Practice it often.

 

(7.) Discern "tattling" vs. "telling." In the wave of school shootings we've learned kids are always the best metal detectors: 75 percent school shooters report intentions So teach your kids to "tell" whenever they don't feel safe and who to tell. It will save lives.

 

(8.) Teach survival rules. In today's world kids could face potentially violent situations. So teach critical survival rules: 1. Use your gut instinct. If you feel you're in danger, leave. 2. Teach: Be wary of certain situations or actions instead of telling kids to fear strangers. It alerts them, so they can act right. 3. Teach gun safety; set clear rules.

 

(9.) Instill that violence is unacceptable. Talking about violence gives parents a chance to see into their kids' world-to get to know their everyday fears and concerns. So talk often. Turn violence in the news into teachable moments to instill that violence is never right. The only way kids know violence is not right is by learning it, so teach it.

 

Michele Borba, Ed.D. is a seasoned speaker who has shared her practical, down-to-earth advice with over a half a million workshop participants on four continents. She is a frequent guest expert on television and NPR talk shows and is quoted in numerous national publications such as Redbook, Better Homes & Gardens, Parenting, and Newsweek. The author of 18 books, her latest, Building Moral Intelligence (Jossey Bass), was selected by Publishers Weekly as "a most noteworthy publication for 2001." Borba is a former classroom teacher who now lives in Palm Springs with her husband and three teenage sons. For more information on Dr. Borba's work go to www.moralintelligence.com