A few weeks ago I came across a video on-line of a young teenager being arrested. The teenager was not responding to the officer’s request. In fact the teenager turned away from the officer and tried to run out the door. The officer in turn took town the teenager and things got ugly quickly.
Proponents of police would say that the child placed himself in the middle of police work and did not heed the directions of authority. Individuals who advocate against police brutality would say that it was a prime example of excessive force.
I showed Becky the video and we agreed on the following:
We saw a child who was emotionally immature who lacked the ability to manage his feelings. He lacked the ability to stop and problem solve. He lacked the ability to listen.
We might have seen the video differently from others. Kids don’t just naturally know how to act or for that matter react. If kids are not taught to listen to and abide by rules we should not be surprised when they act outside acceptable societal norms.
In our children programs we see many children who are just ANGRY. They don’t truly know what to do about it, they just know, at a base level how they are feeling. It’s hard to even get to other emotions that they have, like being sad, or being afraid. For many of these kids emotions are just like a big spinning wheel that they don’t know how to stop.
Kids should learn how to assess problems they encounter and talk through how they are going to handle a situation. If I’m in trouble, what should I do, how should I act?
So why should we care? The child’s actions not only placed himself in harms way but also placed the officers in a bad situation. If no steps are taken how does the situation get resolved when the child turns 18, 19 or 20 years of age?
Emotional intelligence must be taught to these children at a YOUNG age. We need to start teaching children how to write in journals and how to express their feelings. We need to start teaching children to problem solve. Community leaders should invite police to volunteer their time and help teach these kids learn to reason.
Our argument is that if we teach kids how to use reason, there is a good argument that these same kids can be reasoned with.
*The Seeds for Success Program is a component of the Kids First Parent Second nonprofit organization. The Seeds for Success program teaches kids how to identify, express emotion. For more information about our program contact firstname.lastname@example.org