Whether or not it is true that some of us are born with more genetic predisposition for negative, risky, or violent behaviors, it is also true that these behaviors are not “activated” in a safe and nurturing environment. In this way, an environment can have a negative impact on child development if it is one which is conducive to violent behaviors.
A positive attitude in a household that does not use violent disciplinary measures, where positive reinforcement is used as well as punishment, is going to allow “high-risk” youth to develop without being exposed to the same behavior they may otherwise pick up and impersonate. A great way to create such an environment is to set house rules, create assigned chores, and provide both a minor, non-violent penalty for tasks that aren’t completed as well as a reward for consistent completion of tasks. Leaving out the possibility of earning a reward is a common mistake parents make when dealing with defiant children. In the same respect, giving in to a childs wants by giving a reward that hasn’t been fully earned is just as detrimental. As unlikely as this may seem, it is not overly hard to implement and will work for you if you are consistent.
It is also important to set aside family time once a week, or preferably, to eat dinner together some nights. Doing this makes sure that everyone stays in touch and takes a moment to be aware of the other family members. It is good once a month or more to set aside time for a family talk; an open conversation where each family member is allowed to address any concern and be heard. It is difficult to find the time to pay attention to every member of your family, in most cases. Doing so brings problems into group awareness and prevents conflict.
Keeping the house organized and engaging the whole family in doing so, setting aside family time, as well as implementing routine, all help to create a secure environment and promote healthy child development.
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