“The reformative steps to take in correcting a violent child- Part I”- Gbenga Gbarada

by Gbenga Gbarada

Dr. Gbarada

Children have continuously been among the most vulnerable victims of violence. They have played various roles in participating in acts of violence, ranging from inciting propaganda online to carrying out deadly attacks. Youth can be credible, competent, and critical partners in struggles to counter violent extremism, but they also can be specifically influenced into violence. Although, the personal motivations to join or associate with violent organizations may be similar to those of adults, but juveniles differ because of their stage of social and intellectual development. Children in conflict with the law are recognized as a distinct offender class in the criminal justice process on account of their mental, intellectual, and physical maturity.

Management practices must take into account the special needs of each child while maintaining an environment conducive to reformation, correction and implementing targeted interventions. The responsibility of achieving the objectives of reformation and correction falls on the various actors including a range of external stakeholders and the broader community. Coordination, consistency, and reinforcement among those key actors are critical to ensure the continuity of correction necessary for the child’s reformation. The application of model management approaches, interventions, and programs must be tailored to the unique social, cultural, and historical context of each jurisdiction and tailored to each child unique risks, needs, and capabilities.

This article discusses a number of interventions for reformation and correcting a violent child, such as mentoring and counseling programs, vocational training and general education, and community and family engagement.

1. How to Mentor a Troubled Child
Troubled kids usually benefit hugely from having positive mentors in their lives. Being a mentor can be a gratifyingly rewarding practice. When you build a firm relationship with them, you can be a positive influence in their lives irrespective of whether you are a volunteer, teacher, social worker, family member, or neighbor. Also, you can help solve the child’s problems in countless ways. The followings are among the techniques employed for mentoring a violent child;

 Building a Relationship
To foster a mentoring relationship you must be an active listener. Allow the child determine what you centre your conversation around. Show keen interest in what they say by smiling, responding, and asking questions to encourage them to open up to you. Allow them to talk without interruption if they are narrating a comprehensive story. Listening to whatever they want to talk about helps them begin to trust you.

 Set some realistic goals
Discuss with and not talk to the child about their goals. If the child is older and their goals are unhealthy or unsafe, discuss other goals with them that will lead to longer-term happiness. Ensure the child know that you believe in his ability to do well, let him know you expect him to try to reach the goals you set together and let him know that you will help in the process.

 Treat them as Individual and not as a number.
Violent kids often feel they are viewed as “bad” by the society. Therefore, take note of what your mentee is interested in, and make remark on the things they talk about. Endeavour to ask them questions about their goals, families, friends, and hobbies in order to know them better. Remember that active listening is once again a huge part of treating the child as an individual.

 Value their trust.
It is important to let the child know that whatever they tell you is confidential. Allow the child to handle conflicts on their own unless they ask for your help and be sure that you remain loyal to them as their mentor. Take note that you are not the mentor of their parents or other family members.

 Be positive.
Discuss the positive sides of their tough situations without demeaning their emotions. Encourage them by sharing stories of your own experiences of how you got through tough situations to help them understand they can make it. Use your sense of humor to show that you genuinely enjoy spending time with them.

 Oblige them your time.
If you are a volunteer mentor, teacher, or social worker, be punctual in every appointment. If your mentoring is more informal and you’re a family member or friend, make weekly meetings with the child so as to check in and see how they’re doing. Mentor relationships are most constructive when they last for a year or longer.

Watch out for the concluding part of this article.

About our Guest:

Dr Olugbenga Gbarada, ChMc, ACiarb, a Don of Peace and Conflict Resolution; the Chief Executive Officer of Dispute Resolution Academy (DRA) and the Executive Director, Initiative for Peacebuilding and Social Change (IPSC).

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