Violence Prevention Program May Halt Aggression in Its Tracks
WebMD News Archive
Although the program involves parents, PSL focuses primarily on students and
teachers. For example, the program instructors teach the children PSL terms
such as "pantomime," which means that the children should withdraw into
their "own space," and quietly line up, without the teachers having to
blow whistles or yell.
"Everybody, from 'lunch mothers' to custodians, uses program terms to
help reinforce the message," says pilot school principal Jean Dorcus.
"I've overheard kids using PSL terms with other kids, and already, the
school seems to be more welcoming."
Next year, the PSL program will be implemented in seven Boston schools. But
until violence prevention programs like LIFT and PSL become core curriculum,
doctors say there are ways to reduce aggression at home.
"Aggressive behavior often stems from a sense of helplessness in solving
problems and meeting needs," says Robert Hunt, MD, director of the Center
for Attention and associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt
Hunt, who specializes in child psychiatry, tells WebMD that parents can
teach children to resolve differences by rewarding cooperation. "Rather
than settling disputes, parents should encourage kids to reach their own
solutions and praise them for it," says Hunt. "This creates competence
and a gives children a sense of mastery."
But first, it may be necessary to take some time out. "Sometimes kids
have to calm down and get focused before they can handle instruction," Hunt
adds. "So it's often a good idea to take some deep breaths or a short break
before revisiting the problem."
Parents also need to be good role models. "Kids mimic the tones and
attitudes expressed by their parents," says Hunt. "So caring,
affectionate behavior between mother and dad is an excellent
For more information about LIFT, please visit www.oslc.org.For more information about PSL, please call
Marci Feldman at (617) 496-0507. For more information about the Center for
Attention, go towww.centerforattention.com.
Violence prevention programs for students,
parents, and teachers reduce aggressive behavior among grade-school children;
the most aggressive kids show the most drastic improvement in aggressive
Parents should praise siblings for settling
disputes cooperatively and serve as role models for caring, affectionate
Upset children often need a short break in
order to focus on problem-solving.