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Reflections for Parents
the Preschool Pledge of Nonviolence
From the Summer 2002 Newsletter
by Kathy McGinnis
Parenting a pre-schooler is a daunting task, filled with
all kinds of opportunities for fun and laughter and for the building blocks for
basic values. Here are some self-questions for parents related
specifically to the Preschool Pledge of Nonviolence
To Respect Myself and Others
Do I always use respectful and positive language with
my children even when I am correcting them?
Do I do something each day to make my children feel
good about themselves?
Do I point out their positive behavior more often than
their negative behavior?
Do I give them lots of hugs and honest verbal praise?
Do I avoid running others down in front of my children?
To Say How I Feel
Do I label and express my feelings directly to my
children: "I feel sad when this happens" or "I am so happy when..."?
Do I encourage my children to express their feelings --
verbally, through art work, through body language?
Do I work at positive, safe ways to express my anger?
Do I encourage my children to express their anger
without hurting themselves, hurting others, or breaking things?
Have I begun a system, like a special family talk time
or family meeting, where we work out problems as a whole family?
To Listen to Others
Do I take the time to really listen to my children and
look at them when they are speaking to me?
Do I encourage them to stop and listen when someone is
speaking to them?
Do I avoid letting the TV, radio, computer or reading
material distract me from listening to my children?
To Respect the Environment
Do my children observe me recycling, picking up litter,
Do we enjoy nature together, do we revel in the wonder
Do we treat all living things with amazement and the
To Play Safely
Do I have a number of active play possibilities for my
children (e.g., firefighters, paramedics, animal rescuers, etc.) as
alternatives to violent play?
Have I found ways to encourage the nonviolent
developmental needs of children for power, strength and speed in their play?
Am I clear with my children about my own reasons for
not buying violent toys for them?
To Be a Strong and Fair Friend
Do my children observe me standing up for others who
are being put down in any way?
Do I look for opportunities to explain justice issues
to my children in terms of what is fair to other people?
Am I conscious of building a respect for racial,
cultural and religious diversity into our family life -- books, pictures,
learning events, etc.
Do I consciously reject sex-role stereotyping in our
language, selection of toys, and the activities I encourage my children to
Kathy McGinnis is
director of the Institute for Peace and Justice and has done extensive
peacemaking training throughout the U.S. for preschool educators.