In my quest to reestablish a close bond between myself and my older kids, I’ve decided I need some kind of reminder to hang up on the wall. It’s all too easy to fall into familiar behavior patterns, especially when things get stressful. The past couple of days, I’ve been trying to be more attentive to my children, and notice their interactions with one another. Mostly just to observe and learn from them, although I do step in from time to time and offer suggestions and meditation. What has stood out the most is rather disturbing and disheartening to me. In the times when my immediate mental reaction is “that’s kinda mean”, my second thought is “they’re emulating my attitude and behavior”. Ouch. That stings, badly. I know that the most effective way to change their interactions with each other, then, is to change how I interact with them. So I’ve come up with a plan. A plan for peace. Or rather, P.E.A.C.E.
In contemplating how I interact with my toddler and baby, I realized that the main difference between those interactions and the ones with my 9 and 11 year olds is my expectations of their level of understanding. I think I’m placing too grand of expectations on my older children. Expecting them to “know better”; to be capable of controlling their emotions, when I myself only began to do so in the last few years. When I began my journey to change myself, I knew that my goal was peace. I have experienced inner turmoil for as long as I can remember; at odds with my own thoughts and feelings. It has been a healing process. Healing my relationship with myself. Now that I feel much closer to attaining that goal, I realize that part of my journey to peace involves my husband and children. I feel that my relationship with my husband is stronger than ever. Now it’s time to turn my attention more toward my children. I began this journey for them, in part, because I knew they deserved the best mother that I could be.
So how do I create peace with my kids? Here’s the acronym I came up with:
P is for Praise…begin by praising them for whatever good I see, because they’re doing the best they know how to do.
E is for Empathy…try to imagine what they are feeling in any given circumstance.
A is for Affection…by touching them lovingly, I will reestablish a connection to them emotionally.
C is for Compassion…showing them that I care about their struggles and desires will encourage them to seek my guidance.
E is for Encouragement…putting others down for their flaws is easy, but encouraging their strengths is what enables them to grow.
I would like to literally have some prints made with this acronym on them, and frame them in several rooms of my house. I believe that immersion is the fastest way to changing behavior, speech, and thought patterns. I think that being honest about my struggle to change, and to establish peace, will help my children to accept my apologies when I falter. And maybe, they will take my lead and follow this acronym with each other in turn. =)