How aggression and early childhood development are connected
When we read about violence, like in the Sathankulam custodial death cases of Jayaraj-Bennix, we often wonder where that anger came from. What the history behind this act is. How could this person even begin to think like this and do something so gruesome?
Truth be spoken, these behavior patterns develop over the years. They start early. They stem from behavior patterns from our childhoods. Watching a sibling slap a friend over a bag of chips could lead to young adults kicking up an innocent person in a back alley to a professional policeman slashing a rod into a victim's body parts.
Yes. This is a reality.
Yes, there are years of research and evidence to support this. And no, we won't be silent about this. No, we won't just simply jail the criminal and let this remain a closed case not to be spoken about again. No, we won't just remain silent spectators to small acts of violence that magnify later.
As I read this article in The Print where the policemen (adults) have been taken off duty for behavior therapy to tap into their past (their childhoods) and their upbringings, I strongly remember Toybank’s ethos inspired by Frederick Douglass—It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
Eighty policemen were selected to be a part of this therapy because of three factors—poor anger management, talking to the public in an impatient manner using offensive language, and use of force. All of these are seen in classrooms, at home and in everyday life. But are we being mindful of changing these? Do we want to wait 30 years down the line to realize this could have been avoided simply through a couple of hours of Conscious and healthy play during our childhoods?
What we ought to do is plug these behavior patterns before they latch on to impressionable minds. Let's save our children and their childhoods. Don't dismiss their behavior as 'they're just kids' or 'boys will be boys' or 'Ye toh bas mazak hai.'
We need to start early. Teach kindness, empathy and compassion. Teach children to manage their emotions in a safe space—for themselves and without putting others in harm's way. Help them cope with negative situations more constructively. Fight for themselves and their rights, fiercely—YES, but not violently. We need to teach them the right kind of power. Not the controlling kind. We need to be leaders that lead with peace and not brutal enforcement.
And this isn't a far fetched dream, that isn't possible to achieve. I have seen children transform over six months, over a year. From being absolutely stubborn brats to being kind and inclusive to their classmates. From never sharing a seat, to deep diving into a game of Twister. From believing women can't do anything, to letting his sister take the reins in building a Mechanix aircraft. From always blaming her faults on others, to finally owning up and making a conscious effort to get better. From storming out of the classroom to taking deep breaths and approaching a situation with composure.These are children who come from tough backgrounds, but even tougher potentials to do amazing things. These happened simply and almost naturally, during play moments at Toybank's Play Centers.
—Christine Rodricks, Toybanker