My daughter likes to joke that the reason she doesn’t get punished very often is because she is an only child. Honestly, she is probably not too far off base with her assessment. If you analyze what you correct your children for, I would imagine much if it is a result of some sort of sibling conflict. The next most frequent category of stress, especially for parents of tweens and teens is the conflict between the child and one or more parents.
My husband and daughter will confirm for you that I am far from an expert on handling conflict. My training as a teacher, though, has taught me some better ways of handling disagreements. While it definitely won’t resolve all of the conflict issues in your home, it may eventually make them more pleasant to deal with when they do happen. (These are listed in no particular order.)
My daughter had probably one of the best kindergarten teachers in the history of education. She took a room full of little children from a variety of backgrounds and turned them into a sharp bunch of students. At the end of the year, all of the students made the principal a book. The other kindergarten classes had papers with writing that went everywhere and made little sense. Mrs. S had students whose work was just beautiful. The sentences looked like they had been written by much older children. Even the drawings were neat.
Mrs. S didn’t stop with academics. Her students were the best behaved and neatest students in the school. She demanded they wipe their feet before entering her room. She constantly washed their hands with Purell and expected them to behave. In fact, she had a reputation for being one of the strictest teachers in the school.
Yet the children absolutely adored her! They would do anything for Mrs S and had. Years after they left her classroom, many of them still kept in touch with her, even when she retired. After watching her in action for a year, I think she taught me a lot as a parent about how to get only the best from a child.
Some days, as a parent, it seems as if you are in constant correction mode. I remember, during my daughter’s toddler years, there were days I must have said the word “no” at least a hundred times. As our children get older, we may say “no”less often, but we still tend to focus on their behaviors.
What if instead of focusing on our child’s behaviors, we focused on the heart of our child? I am not suggesting we should ignore inappropriate behaviors, but that we also take the time to dig a little deeper.