Critical training to better protect, support, and heal vulnerable children


series: Protecting the Children by Wayne Bleier


Violence psychologically damages a child. We know that violence affects the child's brain development and a child who's hit is more likely to hit other children and will learn to solve problems violently rather than through talking. Also, the child will be afraid of the parent and probably lose respect for their parents. So how can we talk to parents and show them other ways?

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The main thing to talk about is relationship. How do you develop a positive relationship with your child? How do you recognize when they're doing things right rather than when they're doing things wrong? How do you talk to your child and listen to your child and how do you give your child choices? Like they can do this or they can do that. How do you stop a child from misbehaving in a way that doesn't involve violence?

How do you not react in violence by calming yourself down so you can talk to your child and so your child may listen to you? Those are the kinds of skills that are really important. Because most parents when they hit their children are excited and anxious themselves, so they need to calm down before they do anything. That's very important. Just like children don't listen if they're excited, parents need to calm down as well.

Then you can start to try something else like talk to the child to find out what's bothering them as opposed to hitting them or yelling at them, cause children misbehave for a reason and usually it's not to get you. When things calm down then we can talk about it and we can give the child choices on what they would like to do or what you would like them to do. There's lots of different ways that we can teach this to parents but I usually start with communication and teaching them to calm down so that they can think more clearly and come up with a more positive response.


Wayne Bleier

Wayne is a trained child and family therapist with over 25 years of experience supervising and implementing CP programs overseas in Former -Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Rep of Congo, Indonesia, East Timor, Afghanistan, Liberia, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Uganda, Lebanon, and Bangladesh. During this time he worked with Mike Wessells at Columbia University.

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He has worked for IRC, Save the Children UK, Child Fund International, War Child UK and UNICEF. Wayne holds an MSW degree from the University of Washington. Currently he holds the position of Child Protection Manger and Case Management Specialist for DRC's program working in the Rohingya emergency in Bangladesh.