Like everyone else in life, children too face daily situations of conflict. Though the reasons behind those conflicts and the intensity of them vary, the “how to” of managing them still revolves around being calm, and choosing your actions at a moment of stress.
For children this is even more difficult than adults, their brain is still developing and the intensity of their emotions is high. Introducing tools and ways to manage conflict, however, can support them immensely in learning how to effectively deal with such situations.
In most cases we resort to instructions such as don’t hit, don’t yell, or use your hands gently. But very rarely do we remember to let them know what can to do instead. In this post I’ve put together 5 simple ways for you to share with your children as options on how to deal with situations of conflict;
1. Count or Breath; It was an eye opener when I first taught my younger twins this technique. At first I thought it wouldn’t really work with a five year old but in time; they actually learned to take a deep breath or count to as much as they needs to cool down. What to do? Model what a deep breath is, and show them that it feels calmer. Let them practice at different times of the day and if they get triggered around you remind them “Ok, let’s take a deep deep breathe” and take one in front of them.
2. Walk away & Cool Down; Yup this works too. Though it is hard for them young. Again modeling the behavior to them will teach them how to do it. What to do? Say “maybe it’s a good time to take a moment to cool down and come back” this may apply to “you” or “your” child
3. Language; Since they are learning what language to use in these early years it is a helpful idea to support them by providing language that enables them to express how they are feeling & make requests. What to do? Practice the language with them and teach them how to use it in this way;
o When I see/hear you (do)…
o I feel (emotions not thoughts)…
o Would you be willing to…(request or action to do)
4. Tell an adult; ofcourse they can tell an adult, the probability that an adult will manage the conflict better is very high- so let your child know that they always have a choice to call in an adult to support in managing the situation, if they feel stuck or helpless
5. Journal; this really has worked for my daughter and it usually works for most older kids. My daughter started at 6 to write when she felt stressed and since then it has been a great tool for her to manage her feelings about something. Journaling doesn’t have to be in writing, it can be in voice or drawing or even in pictures. Whatever works for your child. What to do? Practice with your child what works for them, invite them to write about a situation or draw a picture about it and explain to you why did they do so.
These are some of the things that worked for me, do you have others that wok for you and your family? I would love for you to share your experience with supporting your child deal with conflict.
Don't forget to visit and like our Facebook page; www.facebook.com/blossomfamilynvc
How many times, if ever, did anyone you know talked to you about how they sat and contemplated what are his/her child’s rights? I mean, ofcourse we often as parents have discussion on the importance of good schooling, healthcare and parental care to a child’s welfare but very rarely do we as parents (at least in my context) ever sit and contemplate on what rights do our children have. We often have discussions around their responsibilities towards themselves, their family, school and generally the community. But at least in my case, though I consider myself an aware mother that read lots of books on parenting, studied about family and have a very specific paradigm of parenting, I don’t remember having a conversation with Nour (my daughter) specifically about her rights as a child! We did, however, talk a lot about house rules that included conversation around respect and how it should be mutual and how she at all times is entitled to being respected. Such conversations did include questions around what indicates respect? Does she always have to agree with what I say to be respectful for example or is respect that she listens carefully before expressing her views? Such questions made lots of complex concepts easier to understand for Nour.
A child’s bill of rights is by no mean my idea. It’s the idea and I believe creation of a young author called Max Sindell, who I just finished reading a very good book for called The Bright Side. The book is focused on helping kids with divorced parents go through or actually get through the idea of their parents eternal separation and live a healthy balanced life. I guess the uniqueness of this book lies on the fact that it wasn’t written (like most other books) to divorced parents in an attempt to help them support their kids cope with divorce, instead the book was written to the children themselves, addressing them, their needs, concerns and in most cases their maturing ability to understand complex things like divorce. I personally have enjoyed the book very much and was very much fascinated by its very first chapter “The bill of rights”. Though the chapter focused on educating a divorced child on his/her rights in regard to the context of his divorced parents, I found the idea of exploring my child’s bill of rights captivating. The notion of sitting and having a discussion with Nour about some of her rights and how she can encourage me to help her always have them was very interesting. Hence came this post for tonight, through this post I am encouraging every mummy and daddy reading this to sit together or separately and think about what is your child’s rights? When you come up with some few points, ask yourself if your kid knows these rights? Do they understand them? Do they even know what is a right? I truly believe such a conversation would be an enriching and developmental to both parents and their kids alike. Having such a discussion with your child is your contribution to nurturing the seeds of freedom and responsibility within your kid. By teaching him/her about his/her rights and how to protect those rights, you present him/her with the opportunity and understanding of freedom.
In an attempt of trying to positively contribute to this experience I thought of helping everyone out brainstorm around the below points. Though the points mentioned by Sindell are pretty much geared towards divorced kids, I still think they are pretty comprehensive and are to the core of any child’s relationship with his/her parents.
Child’s Bill of Rights;
1. The right to be safe and feel secure
2. The right of awareness
3. The right to counseling
4. The right to be heard
5. The right to be your own person
6. The right to neutral
7. The right to private communication
My concluding thoughts and prayers are for everyone to always be blessed with awareness and knowledge that would in one or more ways enable their lives. I also can’t skip the thought of having gratitude for being presented with the opportunity to read the book, learn from it and pass on some of the knowledge.
Don't forget to visit and like our Facebook page; www.facebook.com/blossomfamilynvc
Yes like every other parent on the planet, I too struggle with my daily triggers. Triggers are those situations or actions that really tick me off and drive me up the wall. Thankfully I am learning everyday new ways to bust those triggers and live a calmer life with my family. In this post I will share some of the work-around solutions I used, and have worked out for my family and me wonderfully;
1. Be Conscious; this is the simplest way. I get triggered every-time my daughter cries, it just provokes me. Being conscious that this triggers me enabled me to dig deep into the reasons behind it and find out that it comes from childhood baggage that I was carrying around and projecting on my own kids. This was enlightening and empowering in a sense that it supported me in making different choices that were more in line with my values towards my family
2. Rehearsal; You know how you rehearse before a presentation or try a your dress 2 days before the party, just to make sure that everything is working right? Well same thing goes with triggers. Once you’ve known what ticks you off, take the time to prepare yourself to “how” do you want to respond rather than react when that same them happens. Whether in a journal or a mental note or even a conversation with a coach, rehearsals are key for managing triggers
3. Post-hearsal; This is magical, especially when there’s guilt associated with the matter. I would simply go take note of (1) what happened, (2) Why did I do so? (3) Why am I upset I reacted this way? and (4) How would I like to react the next time?. What’s amazing about this, is how it enables me to understand myself better and recap the whole situation again in my head and point out to my calmer self whatever un-reasonable judgments or guilt my tense brain is trying to push in
4. Workarounds; When my daughter uses cups or dishes late at night after I have finished all the dishes, this triggers me a whole lot. So we worked out a system in our house, where she gets to wash whatever she uses after dinner and onwards. To me that was a great workaround for my trigger- it’s also a great way to cultivate sharing and empathy around our house
So these are my magical tips for working with triggers. What are yours? And how do they workout? Would love to hear about them.
Don't forget to visit and like our Facebook page; www.facebook.com/blossomfamilynvc
Just the other day after delivering a workshop, a mum walks up to me and says “my child lies to me and I don’t know why he does that”. She seemed worried and frustrated, like all mother would in her situation.
After telling me her story, I realized that her child might be very well not lying– he is just too young to yet distinguish between reality and fiction. When he says; I was playing with Maisy (a cartoon character), he was not lying. He is three years and probably thinks he was really playing with Maisy.
This made me want to list in a post some of the reasons children might opt to “lie” in and how to work with them. Here we go;
· (1) Too Young: when children are young their little brains are unable yet to conceive abstract ideas like time, reality and God. So in most cases you would find them saying or doing things that don’t adhere to these concepts. What to do? Teach them about it, in an age appropriate way and slowly but surely they will grow into it.
· (2) They Need your Attention: If your older child is lying to receive praise or appreciation – then this is probably what they are lacking in their relationship with you. Or maybe they simply have a very high need for appreciation and they are resorting to you, their safe zone to fulfill their needs. What to do? Re-assure your child often that they are important, worthy, and that you accept them no matter what. When they fail in something let them know in words and actions that it is ok and it doesn’t make them less.
· (3) Fearful of you: With ache I write this, but this seems to be the mainstream of kids in our societies today. Kids resort to hiding or lying about their actions or behavior because they fear authority figures in their lives; be it the parent or teacher. What to do? Dialogue with you kids over and over again about why do they feel they need to share the story that way? Where is their fear coming from? – And work on changing it
· (4) Role modeling: Yes this comes up every time; children are deeply influenced by role models in their lives; if you or any other care giver lies, they will probably do the same. What to do? Yes, stop lying. At least in front of your kids!
· (5) Peer Pressure: Another sad reality, children are also in most cases influenced by their peers in day care or in school and definitely in high school. If their friends have a certain habit of lying, your kids are likely to experience it at least once. What to do? Encourage your children to good friendships, guide the type of activities they do & make sure you keep them grounded into your family values and their importance.
Hope this has added some value to you, please let me know what you think and how do you deal with your children at home when they lie? And why do you think they do so?
If you liked this post, i would love it if you press the below button and Vote for me! It would bring me a step closer to my dreams! Thank you!
Yes I am a huge fan of "FREE Your Kids" blog and facebook - i love their down to earth way of talking to the world. Big daddy and mama bear have a beautiful way of sharing their stories and am so honored that Big daddy was open to answering some questions that i can share with all of your about his family.
If you don't know them, i think this is a great way to get in touch with the movement of peaceful parenting - they have over 31K+ followers from all over the world and they are awesome! Enjoy!!
1- What are the main reasons behind your starting your blog? what drives/motivates you to do so?
We began as typical punitive-based parents but after much reflection (and many mistakes) we changed our lives entirely by "freeing our children". Freeing them from punishment. From shaming. From yelling. And we taught them the Non-Aggression Principle. We taught them to honor their agreements. We taught them that only they are responsible for their decisions. Basically, we started our FB page and then our blog to share this information with others. And also because I enjoy writing and like sharing my work with others
2-Tell us about your family?
I'm Big Daddy (44). I married my wife (Mama Bear, 33) almost thirteen years ago. We have five kids, ranging in age from ten to two and a half
3-What are the biggest challenges you’re facing in parenting your children peacefully?
Biggest challenge is yelling. I still resort to yelling if things fall apart. And acting like a jerk when I'm tired. That's a problem
4-How do you deal with these challenges?
The best way I've found is to really look at the little person and remember how much you love them
5-Does peaceful parenting work for parents with young babies from your point of view? How?
Of course. How? All humans respond to love and empathy, from one (or less) to one hundred
6- Does it work for parents of teenagers? why?
I don't have teenagers, yet, but I've no doubt it will work. I can't imagine treating them with respect, honoring their wishes, and loving them madly will ever stop working
7- What is the one thing you would want to share with people around the world about peaceful parenting?
You don't have to punish or hurt your children to raise great people
This post is even more awesome than part 1... I share here great and practical information about having empathy and working with empathy guesses with your child(ren). I truly deeply hope you enjoy it :)
Please do not forget to share these posts with your friends and family if you liked them - our dream is to have this information out there to as much parents and educators around the world.
Also i would very much enjoy if you invite more people to out group, we have people from all over the world in the group and would really be fun to even grow larger and larger!
Love and Peace,
In an attempt to maintain integrity with my mission to enabling more parents to parent peacefully i have added a "downloadable" PDF - This is a mini guide to help you identify you child's feelings and needs. I have put in there some of the daily situations we face as parents and guessed what could be the child's needs and feelings. Hope this helps!!
Oh and if you have a situation that you are facing with your child and wondering what might be his/her feelings or needs; post it on the group or here in the comments section and let the community guess with you!!
Please Please do not forget to share the blog and like it!! Feel free also to tweet or pin it!!
Lots of Love,
I get asked a lot by parents (and my own children sometimes) about how do I keep my calm, and though there are a lot of materials and articles out there that bombard parents about tools and techniques on how to keep your calm in my opinion most of them take a limited perspective to keeping your calm; I truly believe that there is a deeper perspective to our calmness at home. And this is what I intend to share in this blog post.
So if you are really longing for a sustainable approach to keeping your calm (not a quick fix), willing to do what it takes and believe in holistic change then this blog is for you!
I use to really struggle with keeping my calm when I was younger, actually I was the defiant kid in our home, I was always the one with the loudest voice and that slams the door but then eventually as I grew up somehow all this anger and resentment vanished and I was able in time to receive my first daughter with a much calmer self. Which at the time was very difficult as I wasn’t ready for a baby and this all came as surprise to me.
At a certain point I decided to examine what happened. I had the intention to share my findings with others around me. This was a tough exercise but also exciting as I was fascinated with my findings and how it concurred with a lot of the parenting and self development stuff I later on in life learned and now advocate for. So for those of you who can’t wait to know, here is the list;
Life Purpose; this is the answer of questions like; why are you alive?, what will your legacy be?, what do you want people to say in your memorial about you? What kind of a parent to do you want to be? What kind of a family do you want to lead?
Answering these questions enable you to have clarity about what is meaningful to you in life, and why are you doing certain things and not doing others, it also gives you direction in a sense that it channels some of your emotions, thoughts in the right direction. Like for example; when I use to stay home with my daughter and miss important business trips, I still felt good about myself and had no (or very little) thoughts about being cornered, or how life is unfair – the fact was that having the clarity that my daughter matters more and that this is a choice not something that I have to do, made me feel good about myself and in a sense more connected with my daughter. Having a life purpose also gives you a perspective on what is your standpoint on matters of life; parenting, family, peace, love, guns…and whatever else. Your life purpose is your ruler that you can benchmark everything in life against and decide what do you want to do. This in a sense limits (or contributes to limiting) the confusion, frustration and mourning in your life. Which contributes to you being calmer.
My advice, do yourself a huge favor and set a time aside to really give this time to yourself and write it down. Make sure you go back to it, review it and amend it as you grow.
Know your values; yes, this is a continuation to the first point but it is important too. When you know your values, you become grounded within yourself, your values becomes one of the support mechanisms in your life. For example; I spent long amounts of time having conversations with my daughter about different things, why things are happening, why is she feeling in a certain way, how is this touching others around us, and lots of other things including things like her relationship with her step dad or step brothers and sister – it is very draining, time consuming and sometimes frustrating when these conversations don’t go as I have hoped – and I question myself sometimes, why am I not taking a shorter cut and why am I choosing to do so; my values always come up for me in these times as a reminder of the deeper needs I hold towards having a solid embracing relationship with my daughter. This gives me ease, peace and almost always calms me down.
It also works the other way around. Like when a situation is vague, your values come in handy to clarify matters. For example; for years and years I would allow my daughter to not sleep in her pj’s, it really annoyed me sometimes (specially if the clothes were nice, expensive or new) but then I always brought it back to my values and weighed which matters more in this specific situation, i.e. freedom of choice or preserving our belongings; somehow in this specific situation it was always freedom of choice. This made me calmer because I had clarity.
Define & Do your own thing(s); what is it that you enjoy doing? What is something that you really have hoped to learn, know more about? To me this was parenting, child development and the non-violent approach to life. As soon as I defined it, I started learning about it even though I was working as a management consultant back then and had nothing to do with this domain of life. Learning about this made me feel fulfilled, inspired and happier – being in this state made me calmer as a person in general and enabled me to deal with things in my life from a state of love and fulfillment rather than from a place of frustration or emptiness. And no matter how convinced you are that you don’t have the time, I invite you to find the time and celebrate having it. Use creative ways to do so that will be inexpensive and less time consuming. Examples are; online education and home products or do it yourself stuff – this works too.
These are my core, and deeper ways of being calm but there are other, more operational, reasons that contribute to my “calm” state at home and in dealing with my kids;
Know your triggers; to all of us parents, there are certain things that tick us off. Whether it is dropping water while filling a cup or messy spaces, there’s always this thing that just gets our blood pressure up. My golden advice is KNOW IT & PREPAPE FOR IT. Here are some simple steps of how; 1- journal periodically to discover the pattern of which behavior ticks you off. 2- Reflect on why it does so. This is particularly important because it will help you know whether it is just the habit of doing so or is it something you really care about or maybe it is something that you need to heal from/deal with to move on. 3- Write down in a journal or do a mental note on how you’re going to react the next time it happens. Include everything, what are you going to say or not say, do, and facial expression. Believe me this works!
Empathy; in my view empathy is to understand the other person’s experience “with” your heart not your mind. Try to understand what’s going on with your child at any given moment, practice doing so in moments where you are not triggered so it would slowly become more natural for you to empathize with your child at stressful times. Empathizing with your child will in most cases, maintain your calm self towards your child. Here are some examples that you might find helpful in guiding you;
Example1: If your child is wandering around in the supermarket and is dropping, touching and pushing things around; it might be his need for play, engagement or shared purpose. Then ask yourself, how would I feel if I was in his/her place now?
Example2: If your child just hit a child; it might be he/she is so hurt that the other kid took his toy from him and he doesn’t have another way to express his/her frustration. How would you feel if someone took something precious from you without permission? What if you have not been taught how to speak up for yourself?
Example3: Your child goes on a tantrum because you just switched off the TV and asked him/her to go to bed; maybe he/she is not ready yet, his/her need for choice, autonomy or maybe even gentleness are alive for him/her right now. Then ask yourself; how would I feel if my (let’s say husband) walked by, switched off the TV and asked you to go to bed? (I know you’re probably turning red just reading the questions!).
Exercise & Food; Yes! And we all know it. Though I am personally struggling with these two, but reality is when I exercise I feel better and calmer and when I don’t it becomes harder to feel that way. The same goes for food; if I just ate a combo meal and feel heavy I am less likely to be open and receptive to random behavior done by kids and I am generally grumpier. An important point to mention here is calming foods and drinks; Berries (all kind), bananas, Apples, oranges, whole grain and fish are magical!
Spirituality; Stay centered. Whatever this means to you, the point is to do it. Be it through praying, yoga, spiritual practice group or self-meditation choose what works and commit to it. Staying in connection with yourself is key for your overall wellbeing and it definitely keeps you calm and centered. I pray, read and give gratitude. These are things that work for me. To decide what works for me, I literally had to try everything and I am still trying stuff till this day.
Like every blog I write, this list is my sharing and is by no means a conclusive list. In fact what could work for you could be different in many ways than what’s above but as always my hopes that you find in my sharing what contributes to more peace, love and connection between you and your family.
Marwa Advocates for freedom, peace, and building compassionate homes.