Raising a Child in a Holistic Peaceful Way

Author:  Image of Susan SeatsSusan Seats
Published: 19.03.2014
Updated: 02.07.2015

8th International Conference on Peace and Nonviolent Action


Raising a Child in a Holistic Peaceful Way

Educating Youth in a Culture of Non-Violence for Creating a World without Violence:

Raising a child with a Holistic type model is essential to encourage the spiritual, emotional and mental growth of a child. It is not enough to focus heavily only on academic success.

The important building blocks important in raising a peaceful child are the following;

  1. Peaceful and loving family life.  
  2. Friendship and Community support.
  3. Spirituality, values and compassion.
  4. Nutrition, shelter, safety and sense of belonging.
  5. Good education in a nurturing environment.
  6. Life skills training.
  7. Identify passions and vocational aptitude
  8. Fun and exercise.
  9. Global awareness. 

At the center is a circle of the child’s consciousness  whereby awareness, acceptance of self and the inner strength of resilience takes form.  

Peaceful and loving family life

The best thing a father and mother can do is love each other. This shows children the way to have a healthy loving relationship. It also makes them feel more secure. If a child does something wrong let them know what they did was bad but they are good and you still love them.

No matter who raises the child be aware that they model their caregiver’s behavior and way of interacting with one another. We have to be careful what we say and do and make sure we are striving to be peaceful ourselves. It is important to have some quality time everyday with the children besides making sure they do homework, chores, etc. From early on children can learn communication skills. As small children talk with parents they tend to keep up the habit as they age. When the child comes home make a habit of asking how their day went and tell them about your day as well. Don’t burden them with adult problems unless it directly affects them.

Friendship and Community Support

Teach children good friendship skills ie: sharing, empathy, manners, boundaries, communicating feelings etc. It is important for children to learn the art of discernment to be able to choose their friends wisely. (“real” friends should not always criticize and make them feel bad.) Life is not a popularity contest. Even one good friend is a treasure. Let children become engaged in community activities to see life as more than just their own family or school.  Let them meet  positive role models and engage in fun events. Give them a responsible role where they can shine or be seen in a positive way.

Spirituality, Values and Compassion  

Give children your values and spiritual foundations. If you aren’t spiritual, give them a moral compass; a way to be clear about right and wrong behavior. Teach them to respect others. If we don’t give them our values and internal sense of discipline they will look to others like movie stars, kids in trouble etc. and adapt their ways. If a child makes a mistake use it as a “teachable moment” and ask them what they learned from the mistake and how they will do things differently next time. During commercials on the television ask the child questions about the actors’ actions ie: What did you think of what that man did or what would you do?etc. You can use their songs and favorite tv shows and games to teach values and spiritual principles. Provide opportunities for a child to learn compassion by helping those less fortunate then them. (Do things together to help others). Let the children make meaningful contributions in the house. Give away some toys every year to children who are poor.

Nutrition, shelter, safety, sense of belonging

Teach children good eating habits from early on. A child cannot learn if their stomach is empty. A roof over their heads and a feeling they are protected and  loved consistently helps them develop a positive attitude toward themselves and others. When the child comes home make sure they do not walk into a home that is too chaotic or full of clutter. It does affect their psyche and ability to think and cope.

Humans all want to feel they belong to their family, community, school, church or clubs, friendship circles etc.   

Good Education

Help your child develop a joy for learning at a young age as you help them explore and make sense of the world. Be enthusiastic about the simple wonders of life in a tree, animal, etc. Let them know specific skills and strengths you see in their work ie: don’t just say I like what you wrote. Tell them what about their writing really intrigued  or impressed you. Give examples. It helps them become clear and learn the areas they are good  or they know which areas  to improve. Start with the positive before you give any criticism.  Don’t pressure them to excel so much. Many children become depressed if they are not “perfect” They have a hard time forgiving themselves if they make a mistake. Help them understand you know they are trying their best or you know they will try better next time.

Teach Life Skills

Help children learn about life by giving them choices even at an early age ei: choice between two foods two outfits, etc., Let  them make mistakes and endure consequences and teach them alternatives to their behavior or choices. Have them engage  in chores, give them a sense of finances by giving them allowance and provide activities where they can earn money for something they want or need. Help them break big problems into smaller pieces. Teach healthy ways to relieve their stress instead of drugs, or destructive acting out behavior. Teach time management by helping them set priorities and goals and give rewards for achieving them. Make it safe for them to come to you with problems. Try to be non-judgemental. Help them be that way towards others.

Identify Passions and Talents.

Allow them to try various activities, musical instruments, dance drawing actitivies etc. Children naturally will gravitate to what interests them. Support their passions with classes or mentors This may become their “gift to the world”

Fun and Exercise

Children need to play openly. Through games and sports they can learn teamwork, taking turns and playing fairly. Play with your children. It shows you want to connect with their world and it makes the child more positive in wanting to share their thoughts. We adults talk to feel close to one another. Children like to play and that gives them a sense of bonding. Games often stimulate laughter, and appreciation of self and others. Help them see life with a sense of humor. Like Oprah Winfrey says “ Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves for they will never cease to be amused.”

Global Awareness

Teach the children to respect those who are different from them. Help them appreciate diversity and how we all are unique yet we all belong to the family of man. Educate them about different cultures and have them meet friends from other countries. Attend culture events, look up Rotary programs for exchange students at www.rotary.org Watch foreign films. Have your child study a foreign language and expose them to different kind of foods from other cultures. Teach them about Gandhi, Martin Luther King and the struggles people who are “different” have gone through.


In the center of all these areas is self. This involves self awareness, and acceptance of who one is. Having a healthy and positive attitude toward self helps a child be more resilient and less apt to be a victim of bullying or being taken advantage of. Peer pressure can be very tough. Give them the resources and people to turn to when they are feeling pressures of teasing, bad grades, friends doing drugs, etc. Observe and compliment them when they are not doing anything. Or they think your worth is only based on what you do and not your “presence”

Children can be very hard on themselves and in their minds they are constantly criticizing themselves with I am not nice or pretty enough or smart enough etc. It can be very tormenting. Help them reframe their thoughts into positive ones.

Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions,

Watch your actions: they become habits

Watch your habits; they become character

Watch your character: it becomes your destiny  


Children are the future. They have been some of my greatest teachers. With their sense of innocence they can remind me of the goodness that still abounds in the world even in the hardest circumstances. Let’s be good stewards for our children whether we are their neighbor or teacher or parent or friend. They are our future peacemakers.  

Please read the Poem titled “Children learn what they live with, by Dorothy Nolte

 It is a good reminder for us all.

Children Learn What They Live
© 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

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  1. Discipline
  2. Environment
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  4. International Conference On Peace And Nonviolent Action
  5. Non-violence
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  7. Violence
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