Brotherly Love Part 2 -Contention & Negotiation
What is the contention rating of your home?
10 - it is common, every day
1 - it is rare.
The goal is that contention in your home is not a common feeling, that it FEELS out of place, that you all clearly recognise that this is an unfortunate exception.
So where is the contention coming from? I'm assuming here that none of it comes from you!! How is the mother training coming along? This is definately one of those lead by example things - how you treat your husband and children is how they learn to treat each other and yourself. Are you critical? Short tempered? Unkind in your comments? Are you a peacemaker, look for the best, respond to a problem with your vision in mind, rather than your mood?
The truth is that you set the mood for your home.
In the account of Jesus' teachings to the people in ancient America one of the first things He taught them was:
"He that hath the Spirit of contention is not of me... Behold this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away."
3 Nephi 11:29,30
So! We need to do away with this in our family.
It is natural for children to fight. But it is not GOOD for children to fight. We can show them a better way.
"Ye will not suffer your children that they... fight and quarrel one with another... but ye will teach them to love one another and to serve one another." Mosiah 4:14,15.
Does this mean we don't LET them fight? It does.
The bottom line is what you will, and will not allow to happen in your home.
But they just DO it!!!
This is one thing you do not be patient about.
"This behaviour is unacceptable in our home. Go to your room."
Treat it as a BIG DEAL. That fun, happy mother disappears and the calm, stern, immovable one takes over.
You have already taught them about not fighting. If they are not inclined to cooperate (which is a nice way of saying 'defiantly, flatly refuse') apply the consequences such as 1 hour or more in their room, grounding and removal of priviledges. This is not the moment to feel sorry for them and give in. If you do you will have taught them they can manipulate you and you don't mean what you say.
Because you have spent the time teaching them in a fun, happy way at times when there IS NO PROBLEM, these times of 'not inclined to cooperate' are few.
So they have started a fight or quarrel. You separate them to give them time to calm down- chair, repenting bench, or room.
Then pretend you are in the United Nations and play Negotiator!
You have both children sit with you and tell their side of the story.
A. Make sure the other child doesn't interrupt, they will have their turn.
B. Keep complaints to the current problem.
C. Say, "So you think....." and repeat back to them what you understood. They will say, "Yes!" (like, "See? He is a jerk isn't he!") OR they will clarify, so you get it.
D. Then the other child has his turn, while you calmly listen and stop the other from going, "No! it wasn't like that!" and "AS IF!" and repeat back what you understood.
About this time they have calmed down and start to get bored, which is good, because then the last stage is quick.
E. Ask "What could you do to fix this?"
It's fun to throw in an unexpected comment, such as, "Well, let's just go in the back yard and you can have a punch-up. That will make us all feel better..." Their reaction is- "WHAT DID SHE SAY!!?? Oh, I get it, mum's being funny..."
Usually you can guide them to a few compromises after this and it's really about -they like to be heard.
And a shortened version of your 'I like you to get along nicely' lecture. By this time they really will want to move on. But they do listen to you more than you think. You are still the biggest influence in their life but sometimes they don't like to let on about that.
This is for older children. 2 and 3 year olds are not big on logic and self discipline escapes them - for that age just sitting on a chair
and "mummy says NO" is enough. But give it a try as soon as YOU think they are ready
Love Keeps us warm game
On a cold night, take the family outside and sit on the ground. Chat or tell a story until they start to get cold. Stay out long enough for them to complain about how much they want to go in and how they don't like the cold. When you know they feel physically uncomfortable, take them inside to a blazing fire or a warm heater. Let them thaw out and talk about how good it feels.
Questions- How did you feel? (cold) Did you like the feeling? (NO!) What did you want? (To come inside and get warm) How do you feel now? Do you like the feeling? Where's the best place to be? (By the fire!!)
When there is fighting and unkindness in our home it feels awful, like being cold. We want to get away from that feeling.
When we show love and kindness our home feels warm and happy. We want to be near that good feeling. It's the best place to be. How do you want OUR home to feel?
CHART: Show a "Love Keeps us Warm" chart - a picture of a bonfire with cut out pictures of each family member around it and room on it for many stickers. Watch for kindness, NICEness, good deeds etc and give that child a sticker to put on the chart. Heap on the praise, make the child feel special and wonderful for the smallest improvement. Repeat at the dinner table what each sticker was for and who received it. This discussion and praise are the most important things. Use this chart all week.