Tag Archive for recognition

3 Parenting Skills to End Sibling Conflict

“Help. All my kids do is fight. There is constant conflict. What can I do?” If that sounds like your house, learn to R.A.P. No, I am not talking about learning to speak rhythmically against a background of rhythm instruments while practicing hip hop moves. My children would die of embarrassment if I tried. No, I’m not talking about a musical rap; I’m talking about three parenting skills that can reduce rivalry, competition, and jealousy between your child and their siblings or their peers. The acronym R.A.P. might help us remember these three skills. Let’s look at each one and see how they can help reduce conflict in the home.
  • Recognize each child’s unique contribution to your family and the world. Every child has unique strengths and abilities. Take time to notice those strengths and abilities. Notice what they do well. Pay attention to what brings them joy. Add those things that bring joy to your child into your interactions with him. Take time to notice what troubles your child as well. Observe what circumstances increase their stress. Help protect them from those situations that trouble them by teaching them coping skills, standing by them to resolve conflicts, or making appropriate changes. Recognize and acknowledge the actions, words, and behaviors that you admire in your child. 
  • Accept your child just as they are. Appreciate them for their unique personality. Acceptance and appreciation build a sense of security in your child. This sense of security promotes honesty as opposed to rivalry. Appreciating each child also gives them a sense of significance. It teaches them that their efforts make a difference; their actions in this world are meaningful. Remember, in order to truly feel appreciated, your child must first know you accept them. Without acceptance, verbal appreciation may come across as manipulation. Also don’t forget to appreciate effort above accomplishment. Let your children know that you accept them whether they successfully accomplish the goal or not. Accept them for who they are and acknowledge that their effort has an impact.
  • Peace keeper: work to maintain peace in your child’s world. Resolve conflicts and differences between your child and yourself. Teach your child to resolve conflicts with his or her siblings. Encourage your child to resolve conflicts and differences they have with peers. Peace-keeping demands that you model and teach negotiation skills, communication skills, and the ability to compromise. To the extent that you model peace-keeping and resolve conflicts, your child will experience an inner calm that allows them to learn and grow. Without peaceful relationships and calm resolution skills, you will find your child’s mind spinning, confused, and distracted. Do all you can to live at peace with one another.
Well, that’s a “R.A.P.” –three crucial parenting skills to reduce family conflict: recognize each child, accept each child, and strive to maintain peace. Practicing them is more difficult than writing about them. In fact, we all make mistakes and fall well short of perfection from time to time. But, practice makes perfect…well, practice results in improvement. At any rate, as you practice these roles you will find that fighting decreases and affection increases (in spite of our occasional mistakes)…and that is worth the “R.A.P.”  

Take a Fall Family Vacation

I recently read a blog from The Generous Husband that talked about taking a vacation. I really liked the blog…and I love vacations. About this time of year, I’m looking for a vacation. The rush of the holidays is around the corner, the demands of homework and fall activities have taken a toll on my rest (or lack thereof), and I often feel overwhelmed by life. I want a sabbatical. I want a family vacation where I can enjoy time with my family without the nagging schedule and rush-induced stress that contributes to bickering and snappish remarks. So, this year I’m taking my family on a vacation. Well…not the kind of vacation you might imagine. We are not going to get away from home; and, we are not going to the mountains or the shore. Instead, I am taking my family on a vacation to get away from nagging, fault-finding, and bickering. We are leaving complaints and allegations in our rear view mirror and heading off to the perfect vacation spot…a beautiful resort of peace and quiet where we can find rest and relaxation. Actually, the perfect vacation spot is not so much a place as it is a charge, a duty, an investment. This perfect vacation spot involves changing the orientation of our heart and the focus of our time. It is nestled scenically at the center of the happy family. In this pleasant and breathtaking destination, our family can settle down on the beach of affirmation and listen to the waves of thanks and encouragement wash up on the shore of our heart, softly rolling over our spirit with words of support and love moment after moment. Of course, we will take a cooler filled with refreshing compliments to quench our thirst for acceptance and recognition. Fully equipped for a day at the shore, we can bask in the warmth of affirmation and affection, allowing the warm rays of encouragement to melt the stress of everyday life away, and enjoy the loving interaction of family. Would you care to join me and my family on this vacation? We will be enjoying this scenic and invigorating vacation spot for the rest of the week. You are welcome to join us. In fact, we hope to see you there!

Forgotten Family Arts: The Thank You Note

The world seems to change at an alarming rate. Just yesterday I thought of a mouse as a tiny furry animal; today a mouse is a near-obsolete piece of technology used with a desktop computer. I remember listening to records-the flat ones that required a record player with a needle to play. Today, we simply download music to our IPhones and put head phones in our ears to shut out the world. These changes have resulted in some lost arts. For instance, storytelling seems to be replaced with TV. Imaginative games of cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians are replaced by video games like “Assassin.” And, when was the last time you hand wrote a letter rather than using email, twitter, texting, or Word?
The family has some lost arts as well. For instance, teaching our children to honor gift-givers with a thank-you seems to be a disappearing art. Remember writing those simple thank-you notes you would write as a child after birthdays and Christmas celebrations? Thank-you notes may still exist, but they are often texted, emailed, or simply typed on the computer. The joy of being honored with a hand-written “thank you” (made up of misshapen letters created by a 5 year old) next to a simple picture far outweighs the emailed “thanks.” Preparing the hand-written, thoughtful “thank you” takes time. It honors the person who gave the gift, strengthening your relationship with them.
How do you write a thank you note? Start by getting some postcards or half-sized stationary. Stay away from full sheets because you want to write a simple “thank-you note,” not a novel. Grab a pen, not a pencil. You want your words of gratitude and honor to last longer than pencil markings. Now, what to write…
·         Begin by greeting the giver. A simple “Dear….”
·         Express your gratitude. Simply thank them for the gift. Statements like “Thank you for the beautiful shirt” or “I really appreciate the book you gave me.” If you received a gift of money, you may want to thank them for their “generosity” rather than the specific amount–“I appreciate the generous gift you sent” or “thank you for your kindness.”
·         Say something nice about the gift and how you will use it. People like to know that you have found the gift useful or helpful. So, let them know what you like about the gift or how you will use it. You might say things like, “The sweatshirt you gave me will really keep me warm on the cool nights this fall” or “I’ve been waiting to buy a new album and your kindness will allow me to do so.”
·         Make a personal connection. If you saw them at your birthday party, let them know how much you enjoyed seeing them. If you received the gift in the mail, let them know you think about them and note a time you hope to see them in the future.
·         Wrap it up. Thank them one more time for the gift. Finish up with a closing and your name–“Thinking of You, John” or “Love, Hanna” or “Yours Truly, Kaitlyn.”
Pretty simple, right? Come to think of it, I have fallen behind on “thank you notes,” too. This is an art I need to practice more myself. I think I’ll go get some cards right now so I’m ready to go. Thanks for the reminder.