If you are a parent of more than one child, you are acutely aware that saying, “Stop Fighting…” rarely, if ever works.
And yet….we keep saying, hoping someday it will make a difference.
In my own personal laboratory of parenting, because let’s face it, parenting is a lot of trial and error, I decided to use the work I use to empower my adult clients, on my kids.
In my work as a coach, I support people in quieting their mind enough to take back control over their own lives.
When I ask adults if they notice that voice in their head, they sometimes look at me with a blank stare while silently listening to that voice say to them “what voice is she talking about? That voice.
Kids are more literal and when I ask them this question, they almost always just say “yes”. My daughter says her speaks Spanish and sounds like me.
Michael Berg created some great work to support people in raising spiritual kids. He calls the brain generated voice in our heads “the opponent”.
I have found this languaging immeasurably useful in training my kids.
When they are fighting over something or anything and I can hear that they are more committed to being right than being loving, I ask them “Are you listening to your opponent?” Sometimes the fight ends. Sometimes they keep battling. If the latter happens I ask, “Are you more committed to listening to your opponent than loving your sister?” That is usually enough.
The greatest gift a parent can give a child choice (within limits of course). It gives them the power. And they want that more than they want ice cream and candy.
I started this conversation with my son when he was about three, but it’s never too late to start planting the seeds. It’s useful to do it in the form of a discovery.
Start by asking these questions:
Do you ever notice that voice in your head telling you:
That you need to win or be the best?
That you need to be funny to get kids to like you?
Any questions pertinent to what’s happening in their life or challenges they’re having now. As their parent, you know their hot buttons.
Then explain that there’s one voice in their head that is interested in them surviving, in making it and having people like them. But there’s another voice in their head that’s interested in being kind and loving and peaceful. (As much as this might seem a stretch when they are behaving like monsters…..kids really do have a strong sense of love and peace and kindness.)
Then ask them:
Do you notice that warm happy feeling you get when someone is kind to you?
Or when you play with the new boy on the playground?
Or when someone invites you to his or her birthday party?
Or when you remember to take out the trash without me asking?
Which one do you think is the real you?
Which one do you like better?
Which one creates more kindness in the world?
Do you prefer kindness or fighting?
And the kicker…..
Which one would you like your sister to listen to when she’s talking to you?
Remind them that they always have a choice. Listen to the opponent that creates fighting and possible grounding and losing their Kindle, or choose the one that feels more like Christmas morning.
The real work here is managing ourselves as parents. When we are tired and stressed and the kids start fighting, sometimes we just want to scream. But this work also starts to work on you. Sometimes the teacher becomes the student and your capacity to handle situations with love rather than listening to your opponent increases tenfold.
You can follow Cherie’s blog here
Linking up with Essentially Jess