Did you enjoy the fireworks this past weekend? Or maybe there were some fireworks in your home as well?
Last week I discussed 5 rules for fighting when conflicts arise in your home. But obviously, cutting down on the amount of fighting would a more desirable goal.
Yesterday, fireworks were part of a national celebration. But fireworks in the home are never something to celebrate. If you are tired of an abundance of fighting in your home, here are some ways to work towards cutting down on emotional fireworks.
Give each other time and space when it is needed.
This may mean space when they are grumpy or tired, or when they come home from school or work. It may mean time to get over their disappointment or anger.
Let your child express their opinions even if you disagree.
Your child’s account may not be accurate and their opinions may not seem valid to you. But if you listen to what they have to say, you have a place to begin. If you cut your child off because you don’t like what you hear, you will miss some valuable insights. If you hear your child out, they will be much more likely to hear you out.
Practice Calm and Consistency.
I was working with a couple recently who struggled to keep conflicts with their child from escalating. I told them the bottom line is that, as adults, they have to set the tone and control their reactions.
Two words, I told them. Focus on Calm and Consistency.
No matter what your child says or does. No matter if they listen and respond or shut you out. No matter if they frustrate you to the very core of your being, you have a choice: will you escalate with them or will you remain calm and consistent?
I guarantee you that staying calm and consistent will go a long way towards cutting down on fireworks in your home.
Hold Family Meetings.
Provide a specific time and place for all family members to come together to discuss issues that affect everyone. Whether it’s conflicts, family vacations or rules in the house.
Family meetings are a time when everyone contributes to the conversation, where everyone is heard and where no one is judged. Having this time allows your children to express their opinions and thoughts instead of being ambushed in a verbal conflict later on.
Have fun as a family.
Schedule weekly or monthly family time when you focus on just having fun. Sure there may be sibling fights in the car ride, but those will be part of the entire experience of bonding as a family. You fight, you make up, you learn to forgive, then you go have fun together. It happened all the time in our house, and if you carve out space for it, it can happen in yours too.
Stop the merry-go-round of busy-ness.
The more stressed your family is from the busy-ness of their jam packed schedules, the more likely that tempers will flare. Your kids schedules don’t need to be filled all the time; let them have down time. Give yourself down time.
I’m convinced that the crazy pace we set for ourselves is not emotionally healthy for families and for individuals. Saying NO to allow some space in your schedules may be the most aggressive move you make towards cutting down on conflicts in your home.
Remember a year ago when we were forced into being at home with our families? Many swore that quarantine was the best thing that had happened to their family life.
How quickly we’ve forgotten.
And remember all the normal stuff: compassion, respect, and patience.
Obviously the fireworks will be silenced if your kids are learning the importance of compassion, mutual respect, and patience.
Are you talking to them about these important values? Are you taking advantage of teachable moments, or opting to just forget all of them because you are exhausted?
Are you modeling compassion, mutual respect and patience to them? All your lectures mean nothing if they are not seeing you set the example.
Fireworks can be scary
When my daughter was young, she was terribly afraid of fireworks. On July 4th, she wanted nothing to do with them and would either find someplace inside to be away from them or when she was older, choose to stay home altogether. Even as a 28-year-old, she still dislikes them.
There are a lot of people that dislike fireworks–after all, they are pretty loud and can be scary for some.
But the scarier fireworks are the ones that happen in our own homes. They may or may not be loud, but they are always uncomfortable and maybe scary for some. It is possible to have a home that works on cutting down on those emotional explosions.
Would you like help cutting down on the fireworks in your home? I actually have some tools that I believe will help. Contact me for a free intro call here.