In life, there will always be conflict with someone. Weather in your home, or on the job, you as an adult are aware of this. Children sometimes are shielded from some conflicts, as clearly it’s not appropriate for them to understand some adult things, however it is valuable to teach them how to cope with situations that are less than perfect – especially if they’re at fault. We do not naturally tend to apologize, we like to be right, and some of us like to be stubborn and right. Teaching your kids that it’s okay to apologize and admit that they’re wrong will give them strong conflict resolution skills later in life. This means they’ll do better socializing and connecting with others as they are in school, or eventually dating and getting married. They’ll do better in the work place at resolving issues calmly too. You must remember that it starts with you – and if you’re naturally a little more stubborn just start by taking some baby steps.
Be aware of Teachable Moments
Don’t wait for these perfect opportunities to teach your kids the big life lessons, as you will run the risk of missing the boat. Be aware that all moments that you share with your children are teachable! They’re watching how you interact with the world around you, seeing how you cope, how you deal with frustration, joy, and sadness. How you treat your butcher, the cable guy, or the homeless woman you pass on the street. This is not mentioned to add stress to an already busy life, rather to call out that your children are already obtaining lessons from you every day. So talk to your children about what’s going on in your life and how you feel, ask them questions about what they would do – get them to interact. In the end this will also strengthen your bond.
Choose your words
Have you ever met that person who seems to have gills because they talk so much and never seem to take a breath? It’s easy for us as parents to over explain and over complicate some very simple lessons for our kids. Too many words will cause some kids to shut down or tune out, and they’ll miss what you’re trying to communicate. A good rule of thumb here is to state your case, and then the consequence – and then move on. For example “Throwing mud at your sister was wrong because it’s disrespectful to her and causes me to have to do more laundry. Your consequence is you must apologize and set the dinner table while your sister changes clothes and gets to watch some TV.” This method is simple and straight forward, and really leaves little room for pointing fingers or shouting and devolving into a more intense situation than it needs to be. Give it a try next time!
Strive for nurturing discipline
It is possible to discipline your children without losing your temper, no really it is! Realistically all you’re looking to do is confront unacceptable behaviors, and lovingly administer appropriate consequences. The best place to start for this is to sit the whole family down and agree on the rules of your house. Children and adults must follow the rules – and everyone agrees on the consequences. When it comes to that moment where someone’s broken a rule, there’s a clear path to the consequence that’s been pre-established – so there’s no anger, just apply the consequences and be done with it. Finally, and this is the really hard part, you must be consistent. You must apply the consequence every time the rule is broken and everyone must be on board – this includes grandmas, neighbors and babysitters to name a few.
Family time spent together acts as the threads that strengthen our bond. You can’t have fond memories if there weren’t any good times, and you can’t expect strong family connections without being intentional about spending time together. Whatever age your children are, be exacting and consistent about family fun time. Grown children have better family ties through college and life when they’ve come up with consistent family time that is fun and engaging.