- You never put your hands on anyone under any circumstance.
- You never allow anyone to put their hands on you. If they do, seek help. If no help is around, then you leave the situation and get help.
- You are never allowed to use profanity, spit or provoke anyone into a fight.
- If someone uses profanity, spit or provokes you, seek help.
- People fight, curse and provoke because they typically feel as if there is no other alternative to deal with their anger. You always have more alternatives and choices than what you may realize. You just have to think.
- It is okay for you to be upset or angry with someone and it is okay for someone to be upset or angry with you. It is what you do with your anger and how well you handle your feelings that demonstrates how strong or weak you are. Keep your hands to yourself, know that you cannot please everyone and remember the choices you have.
- The event in the elevator between Ray and Janay Rice was sad and unfortunate. Both of them will need a lot of support during this time to reconsider alternatives for their behavior. No one ever deserves to be physically confronted in any way.
It is important as parents that we talk with our children about domestic and friendship violence. We are losing too many children and good people to senseless acts of aggression because we are afraid, unwilling or incapable of talking or seeking support. Know that if we cannot talk and address sensitive issues with our partners and friends, then our children will only re-enact those behaviors in the schoolyard, in the community and in their adult relationships. Our children need to know that they have alternatives to aggressive/violent behaviors and that they have other options than fighting. Finding a parent, adult, teacher or neighbor who is willing to listen to our children when they are troubled may diffuse inflammatory circumstances.
While the situation between Ray and Janay Rice is tragic in a myriad of ways, it has afforded all of us an opportunity to talk with our children and partners about our concerns and the kind of support that’s needed in order to have healthier relationships. Please, do not let this national “teachable moment” go by without talking with your children.
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Dr. James Wadley is an Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Human Services Program at Lincoln University. He’s a licensed professional counselor and marriage, family, and sexuality therapist in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is also the Founder and Editor of the Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships.