Making Our Homes and Schools
Places of Kind Words

The Peaceful Parenting Newsletter
Issue #17
A free e-mail newsletter from Naomi Drew

If there is right in the soul,
there will be beauty in the person,
If there is beauty in the person,
there will be harmony in the home;
If there is harmony in the home,
There will be order in the nation;
If there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.
Lao Tzu

Dear Parents,
One of the first and most important steps in creating a peaceful home is making a commitment to having your home be a put-down free zone -- a place where kind words are spoken. One adage I heard that has always stuck in my mind is to try speaking to our children the way we would speak to a friend who has come to visit. Hard as it may seem, this is something well-worth trying. Afterall, we are the most important role models our children have, and what we say we often hear back from them.

So in the spirit of peace, try following this adage for a week and see what happens. Many parents in the courses I run tell me that the behavior of their children improves when they eliminate put-downs and use I messages to express whatever is on their minds. Please let me know what kind of results you get if you try this yourself.

Also, take the challenge to your child’s school. Ask his teacher if he or she will agree to making their class a put-down free zone for at least one week, and then see what happens. The ideal would be to make the school your child attends a put-down free zone every week all year long.

Using kind words is one small but powerful thing we can each do to make the world a little more peaceful.

Love to all of you,


Unkind words can pollute the atmosphere in your home and in the school your child attends. They spark conflict, injure self-esteem, and undermine relationships. Our role modeling is key. Take a stand to eliminate put- downs of any kind. Put-downs create tension and cause anger, even when spoken in jest. They have no place in our homes and our schools.

Home and school are the places where we can counter-balance so many negative influences our children are faced with every day. Turn on the TV, and we’re bombarded with insult-filled sitcoms. Even many of the shows young children watch are filled with nastiness, vulgarity, and put-downs. A mother I was talking to just the other day was complaining about the kind of language her children were hearing on Rugrats, a show designed for pre-schoolers!

Our children emulate what they see and hear on TV, videos, computer games and from other kids. Each time I work with teachers, one of the first concerns I hear is that the kids are so cruel to each other. Too often they hurl insults and alienate kids who are different. Did you know that approximately 160,000 children a day miss school for fear of how they’ll be treated by their peers? And a poll conducted by Child magazine reported that 88 percent of the 2000 adults polled thought kids didn’t treat others with respect.

Put-downs are rife in our homes too. The National PTA did a study revealing that the average parent makes eighteen negative comments a day for every positive comment made to their children. You can help turn this tide by staying acutely aware of what you say, not only to your children, but to your spouse, your friends, and even to yourself. Words have power, and what we speak we’ll eventually hear back from our kids. Dr. Maurice Elias, co-author of Raising Emotionally Intelligent Teen-agers, says, It is not enough to be smart. Being kind is critical. Adults must lead the way.

Using kind words is a critical step in making our homes and schools places of peace. Through the words we choose our children learn that words have the power to both harm and heal.

Adapted from Hope and Healing: Peaceful Parenting in an Uncertain World
Action Steps
Parents, try starting each day with the following affirmations. Copy them, hang them up where you can see them, and have your children say them each day too.

* Our home is a place of loving words and deeds.

* I honor the dignity of each person in my family
and expect the same in return.

Now, have a family meeting and ask every member of your family if they will spend at least one week living by these affirmations and the following action steps. At the end of the week , meet again and see how doing this has affected all of you. Celebrate what you have accomplished. Then re-commit to doing the same thing for another week, then another.

Action steps:

~ I will be conscious of the words I speak.

~ I will not use or tolerate put-downs of any kind.

~ I will use I messages if I get upset about something.

~ I will use and encourage put-ups instead of put-downs.

Teachers, try adapting this activity for your school and let me know what happens when you do.

Adapted from Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids.


News From the Children’s Defense Fund

The Children’s Defense Fund, headed by visionary activist Marion Wright Edelman has an excellent e-newsletter with information pertinent to the well-being of all of our children. Below are three items from their most recent issue that I think you will be of special interest to you. By the way, you can subscribe by going to

The study, Promoting School Connectedness: Evidence from the National
Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, finds that students from
smaller schools feel much more connected to teachers and administrators
and their school than do students from large public schools. In an era
where public concern about school safety is rising and the official
reaction is to increase educational standards and accountability, this
study is one of the first to investigate students' emotional attachment
to their surroundings and its effects on alienation and subsequent
violence. For a copy of the study, log onto


In conjunction with the release of the paperback edition of its most
recent book, "Every Handgun is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning
Handguns" (The New Press, 2001), the Violence Policy Center (VPC) today
launched a new citizen-action web site, Each
year handguns claim more than 20,000 American lives in suicides,
homicides, and unintentional shootings. The new VPC web site-which
contains studies, analyses, survey data, and useful links-will be
updated continuously. is launched with the
recognition that more than 30 percent of the American public supports a
ban on handguns, with this number rising to as high as 50 percent in the
wake of horrific shootings like 1999's Columbine massacre.


Naomi Drew is the author of three books, all available through
Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids (Kensington Publishers)
Learning the Skills of Peacemaking (Jalmar Press)
The Peaceful Classroom in Action (Jalmar Press)
Hope and Healing: Peaceful Parenting in an Uncertain World will be released in September of 2002 (Kensington Publishers)

If your organization or school would like to schedule a workshop or speaking engagement, you can reach Naomi at

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Copyright Naomi Drew, August, 2001 All Rights Reserved.
This content may be forwarded in full, with copyright/contact/creation information intact,without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from the author is required.

Love and Peace to All of You.


Copyright © 2002 by Naomi Drew. All rights reserved. Site Map