What makes a person violent? Poverty, neglect, violence in the home, genetics, violent video games, access to guns or weapons, too much TV, lack of empathy?
Certainly all of these factors play a big part in the development of violent tendencies. But I think we're missing something very important when we focus on what to remove from the lives of children in order to help them develop positive morals and a conscience.
We also need to focus on what to add to their early training to help them learn to cope with adversity in an empowered and rational way. And we need to focus on this much earlier in their lives than we have in the past.
In Ghosts From The Nursery (1997 p. 146), Karr-Morse and Wiley suggest we focus on the period from 10-18 months to prevent violence since that's when the connections are made between the prefrontal cortex and the limbic systems.
During this time, the child's brain learns to modulate stress. As an early childhood and family educator with 40 years experience, I agree.
I deal with the early roots of violence on a daily basis. Most everyone knows that children of this very young age can't yet control their impulses. They will often hit, kick, bite and snatch things away as quickly as possible in order to get what they want. It's up to the adults in their lives to teach the