Stop The Cycle

Ron Calhoun


We are exposed to violence every day. If you’re on social media you experience exposure to violence all day. There is a page on the social media platform Facebook called Cleveland Crime Watch and Discussion.

July 15 thru 19th reported by Cleveland Police DepartmentThis page notifies its 8,000+ members when crime happens in Metropolitan Cleveland by the minute. How? By monitoring and posting from the police scanners of the cities around and in Cleveland, Ohio. Stopping the violence today is next to impossible. Stopping it in the future is essential.

Research, by Kathryn Seifert Ph.D. and published in Psychology Today June 2017 on the lifelong trajectory of violence has shown that some youth that have experienced trauma in early childhood show symptoms of severe behavioral problems, aggression, and mental health issues in elementary school. These youth should be referred for assessment as well as trauma, skill building, and family-based treatment before adolescence. If these problems continue into adolescence, risk reduction planning is essential. But violence, abuse and severe neglect in childhood are more strongly linked to violence later in life.

Young boys and girls are both naturally aggressive from around 18 months to 3 years. Children of these ages are beginning to learn social moirés and develop their interpersonal skills. If child hits, pushes, bites or bullies during these ages, it may simply be part of the natural maturation and boundary testing of growing up. If they are taught or guided on pro-social ways to get their needs met, they will use those skills through Elementary school and beyond.

If a child continues to display violent behavior past the age of 5 or as they enter first grade, it is likely he/she needs developmental skill building. In other words, a measurement of their developmental level (not always the same as age) of skills such as communication, interpersonal, task, self-management, anger management, problem solving, and relaxation against age norms.

If a child that bullies stops this behavior with redirection, teaching and reinforcement, it was likely a temporary problem. However, if the behavior continues for more than 4 – 6 months after appropriate direction is given, it may be a more deep-seated problem and need more precise and intensive skill building. An evaluation by a psychologist to determine the level of pro-social skills, family problems, diagnosis and risk for future violence is recommended. Family therapy may be needed to help parents learn parenting and behavioral management skills. Parents and caregivers must teach and reinforce the skills in a developmentally appropriate sequence.

We must see that all children are safe in their homes, schools and communities and receive trauma treatment when needed.

How do we stop violence in this country? By stopping childhood abuse and neglect in its many forms.

Let’s do more. Lets start now! Our children deserve it.


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