Widgets Magazine

Apr 30, 2012

Loving Each Other

We had an interesting discussion at lunch today. We had just come home from church and my sweetie had whipped up a huge batch of his famous German pancakes. As usual, we shared our various church lessons with the family. One of the main discussions in our class was about how to teach kids to get along. So now I figure it's time to pour my heart out.

Now I'm not a pro at this by any stretch, but before my sweetie and I were married, I made it very clear to him that there were a few things I didn't want in our home. Being completely smitten, I think he would have agreed to anything, but I didn't want to take any chances.

When we were kids, my parents figured the best way to raise a bunch of Super-Over-Achievers was to put them in constant competition with each other. And I suppose it worked to a certain degree...except that I always came out of everything feeling resentful and like I wasn't good enough. Or if I did come out on top, I was boastful and irritating. This didn't exactly lend itself to a harmonious home environment.

So one of my stipulations as a brand-new bride was that we would never encourage our children to be better than their siblings. I wanted them to help and lift and love each other, and if the Super-Over-Achiever happened, great. If not, oh well.

Now I don't even pretend to know all there is to know about motherhood. In fact, the older I get, the more I realize just how clueless I am. But people comment all the time about how well my kids get along with each other and that's because in everything we do, family is most important.

I don't put up with fighting, name-calling or belittling. If the kids get caught fighting, they are immediately sentenced to do a job together. If they can't work together, they are assigned separate but much harder jobs. Usually they settle their differences pretty quickly.

On our recent trip to Vernal, we were horsing around in the pool at the hotel. The Prima Donna thought it might be fun to dunk Sport. He didn't think so...he came up sputtering and bawling. My sweetie thought she ought to be sentenced to a deck chair for ten minutes. No way! That was too easy. I told her she had to haul Sport around the entire pool on her back three times. She grumbled a little at first, but by the second lap they were laughing and playing and having a good time.

My mantra has always been to preserve the relationship at all costs. Sometimes saying "I'm sorry," can be as hard as saying "Hippopotamus," but those words can make all the difference.

I also encourage my kids to serve each other. In the book "Cheaper by the Dozen," they talk about assigning an older child to a younger child to make sure things happen. I am a great delegator! For a while we had specific olders assigned to specific youngers, but now I like to mix it up so they all get a chance to help each other.

I am constantly on the prowl for problems and broken relationships so I can help the kids repair them. I want their siblings to be their best friends.

How do you keep your kids from fighting?


Annmarie Pipa said...

yes..a constant battle of comparisons! but when it comes down to battle..my kids stick together like glue..and help each other when they have to. if they don't have to....fight, pick, fight..

Stephanie said...

I like your approach. No name calling for sure! In my house there are reminders that you only get one sister. I think my girls are also lucky because they get to see from a great example, I'm blessed to be able call my sister one of my best friends.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I absolutely love the technique you used for that pool incident. That is brilliant. I think you are absolutely building great relationships between the kids, and you're also helping them develop their own techniques to solve differences that arise between them when you're not there to intervene!

Jennifer said...

Those are such amazing ideas! And I love the book and movies Cheaper by the Dozen.

LeAnn said...

Wow, you are so awesome. I loved your parenting thoughts. I think you have a lot of wisdom and are doing a great job. I would have loved a friend just like you when raising my children. I so enjoyed reading this post and your ideas; I will spread it among my children for the benefit of my grandchildren. Hugs!

Crystal Pistol said...

You are such a great mom. I love that you focus on their relationships. I firmly believe that is the main reason we are here on earth. To learn how to love, liva and forgive those around us. Good job, mama!

Shell said...

I think that's wonderful- my parents encouraged competition and it didn't help any of us.

Brandy said...

Wonderful! My parents really encouraged relationship and my sisters are now my best friends.


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