How are your school holidays going? I can't believe they are almost over. I am a little sad, but also super excited about getting some of my days back. My kids are going into year 7, 5, 3 and 1. High school is a new thing for us, and I feel like I am a new school mum all over again! So you may remember at the beginning of the month I ran a Facebook Live event, and we talked about how to plan for your Best Year Yet. I hope you all got lots out of it and are able implement my 3 step strategy to Assess, Reflect & Grow. I certainly did it, as I do every New Year, and half way through the year too. My husband and I looked at our family values and where we needed to grow as a family, and then took that to the kids in one of our regular Family Team Meetings.
We decided that, to start the year off we would focus on a value that has slipped between the cracks lately.
Or as the many synonyms for the word would say, defend, support, stand beside, ally yourself with, promote and protect.
Our kids are very competitive. I am also competitive and so is dad, so we have had to make an effort to teach them to beat themselves not each other.
But this competitiveness sometimes comes out in back handed compliments or boasting about their own wins when the spotlight is on one of their siblings.
For a while now we have used the phrase "Shine a light on others, not yourself" to teach them that allowing others to shine, doesn't mean you become less important, but that everyone's achievements and efforts deserve to be appreciated. We have started talking about the interactions we have with each other as family members. We asked the kids what they think we could do, to make our interactions more positive. Involving kids in these type of conversations really helps them grasp the topic and run with it. They need to want to do this too, otherwise its harder for us as parents to help the family grow. We got the usual answers, "speak kinder", "not touch each other's toys", "not yell" and so forth. Let me explain to you my long term plan. These steps build on each other. Step 1 - Introduce the idea of positive and negative interactions, use this as a normal part of our everyday language, and as parents, be super vigilant at pointing out those little positive interactions we see during the day. Step 2 - Be role models to our children. We all know kids take in more of what they see, than what we say. Step 3 - Talk to the kids individually at bedtime about how they think their interactions with each other went, and also reflect together during the weekly Family Team Meetings. Step 4 - As parents, facilitate positive sibling time together. Sometimes, but particularly in the holidays during rainy days, our kids need time on their own to be able to be nice to each other. But not only that, they also need to have time where they have positive interactions so they think of each other in a positive way. Step 5 - Start talking about proactively seeking out positive interactions. A change from thinking about it at bedtime, to also thinking about it in the mornings. Step 6 - Here's hoping that all that leads to us all being able to use our self-control during a potential fight or argument, so that we can turn something potentially negative into a positive interaction. Just to clarify, arguing is OK, conflict is OK, you CAN have positive interaction if during the conflict, you are also respectful. I hope this doesn't make you feel overwhelmed, this is just how I think and implement things. This will be a long term plan, and I am sure I will often wonder if it is working at all! It's really just about creating habits in both their thinking and behaviour over time, to help them grow into decent, kind, compassionate and responsible adults. Isn't that what we all want for our kids? Nina x