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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, April 14, 2024


Previously we discussed the role of priorities and values and how children are affected by the ethics of their parents. In this second part of the series we want to explore how violence plays out in the everyday lives of our children.
We have seen all too graphically what is happening in our community when children have access to deadly weapons. Four murders in one month -– and although some of the victims have passed the age of majority, they are still victims at much too young an age.
Schools are no longer institutions of learning; they are armed camps where rivalries and disagreements are settled with deadly force.
Children are killing each other with alarming frequency. Why?
The reasons are many and varied but we simply cannot discount the availability of guns and other weapons.
Somewhere children are learning to solve their problems in the most destructive way. A way which leaves no opportunity for alternatives or discussion. Problem-solving skills are slim or non-existent.
Many of these children grow up in homes where violence reigns -– whoever is the most violent has the most power and prevails in any disagreement. Verbal, mental and emotional abuse as well as physical and often sexual abuse is normal in their families.
Children who grow up in homes with violence, learn to use violence to get what they want. They frequently identify with the abuser because they view that person as having the most power.
Conflict resolution is a term foreign to them. If it is not learned at home, habits are already formed when they start attending school. These children don’t learn impulse or anger control skills. Consequently, when they don’t obtain the desired results, they become frustrated and even angrier.
It is all too easy for these frustrated, angry youngsters to obtain lethal weapons and, subsequently, to use them in the heat of an argument or as a way to “show them who is boss.”
Gang activity encourages such methods of response. Gangs are becoming more prevalent on our islands and rivalries have sprung up between housing communities, different schools and individual “possies.”
Children only see through our eyes. They learn to look at life as we do. If we are angry, hostile and violent, how can we possibly expect our children to be otherwise? If we never praise them or give them encouragement; if we always yell and scold and criticize them, then they will feel that whatever they do is wrong. Why try to be good if everyone always thinks the worst of you?
Frustrated, angry people with poor impulse control who have access to guns and knives are on a disaster course with violence. Children who feel inadequate and unappreciated often think they have nothing to lose.
What can we do as a community to address this terrible course?
A suggestion has been made which has a lot of merit: Perhaps what would help would be to create a “think tank” of concerned, capable individuals to explore possible positive objectives.
There is so much talent and brain power here and on the mainland among people who would be willing to lend their expertise. What is lacking is a structure or organizing factor to implement the idea.
Kidscope is willing to be instrumental in organizing such a group as a service to the community. If you are such an individual or know someone who would be willing to participate, please contact us through OnePaper or at kidscope@viaccess.net.
Let the village come together to save our children and therefore the village.
Editor's note: Kidscope Inc. is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving our abused, neglected, sexually molested children and our children at risk. Kidscope also works with families to create strength and respect for all the members and help establish a better family unit. You can reach Kidscope at 714-1012 or via e-mail at kidscope@viaccess.net.

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