Top 5 Expert’s Advice for a Peaceful Home
Peaceful home definately makes it easier to have a peaceful mind. (And vice versa. It’s a vicious circle.) The following pieces of advice for creating a more peaceful home are from world’s best parenting book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham.
Learn to notice and name your emotions. And learn to let them go.
What’s especially helpful for contributing to a peaceful home is to learn to notice earlier and earlier when you are getting angry. When you notice the anger arising, stop everything you are doing and saying. Whatever you were doing, it can wait.
You noticed anger. These are now the two possible situations:
- You noticed anger early enough. You are not in the fight-or-flight state yet, so you can calm yourself by rational thinking. Children are acting childish because they are children. You are an adult and can take the high route. Take a deep breath.
- Your anger got out of hands already. You are in the fight-or-flight state. Your brain centers for rational thinking have shut down. Tell your child you need to calm down, so you need to be alone for a little while (except take possible babies and toddlers with you). Go to another room. Breathe slowly. Let go of the angry thoughts and feelings. Thoughts and feelings pass by like clouds in the sky. No need to hold on to them. When calm, go back.
See next advice Hug, Empathize & Problem Solve and Coach Instead of Controlling for an action plan handling the difficult situation after you have calmed down.
Hug, Empathize & Problem Solve
You saw something worrying which started to make you angry. The situation can escalate to dimensions you wish not to see. For example, one child took a toy from another one.
Go there and announce it’s time for a hugging break. (Teaching part will follow later, don’t worry.) Hug. Empathize with child’s emotions. “You really wanted to play with that toy. You were angry she didn’t give it to you.” Notice and name the emotions.
Only when everyone is calm – after hugs and empathizing – can some learning happen. Now, solve together the problem. “You took the toy from her hands. That made her really sad. We don’t hurt one another. How could we solve this problem? Both want to play with the same toy.”
It’s difficult for anyone to admit their wrongdoings. Help respectfully in giving the toy back and in finding the solutions for playing together.
Coach Instead of Controlling
Think yourself as a coach instead of superior human being. We are all equal, even though little people’s brains have not yet fully developed. Coach them how to handle their strong emotions and impulses. The part of their brain responsible for logical thinking is not ready yet. (You guessed it, the part of their brain responsible for primitive impulses is perfectly working already.) It’s really hard for them to stop the crazy behavior once it’s on.
Coach them, and the older they get, the more they are able to use logical thinking to control impulses. And what’s best, they haven’t then embraced the identity of a misbehaving person, so they will use the logical thinking for good.
When I changed my mindset to coaching, I started seeing the everyday struggles as coaching challenges instead of bad behavior. It helped. I also saw that by being a coach, I take more responsibility and blame others less.
Of course, life is still not easy. Being a coach is hard work. No breaks, only coaching, coaching and coaching (with endless cleaning in between). But that feels much better than blaming, blaming and blaming.
Children do what you do. And say what you say. So follow the three earlier advice. If you behave when conflicts arise, your children will behave. As well as they can for their capacities.
When I started hugging before teaching what to do in conflict situations, it took three days that my four-year-old started suggesting hugs when he was upset. He often mentions huggings as some of the favorite parts of his days (not yet exceeding having ice cream).
Have one-on-one time with each child at least ten minutes every day. Make it a habit and priority number one.
One-on-one time is important to your relationship with your loved one. And when the relationships are good, everyone will do their best to behave well, and will contribute to the peacefulness.
Learn more: Markham, Laura: Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting. Penguin Group, 2012.