Lately, fighting has been at an all time high in our house. Fighting between the kids and fighting between the kids and the parents.
So, the past few months, I have really been putting an extra emphasis on love and kindness in our house. I have also been pushing the kids to talk out their problems with each other instead of running to me immediately.
Whenever someone hurts someone else, whether it be hitting, kicking, punching, biting, shoving, name calling, or tattling (Yes, all of those things happen at my house quite often), this is usually what happens:
A kid comes running and crying to me because someone did something hurtful to them. After making sure the kid is physically okay, I ask them if they talked to the kid that hurt them. Usually they say "no". So the hurt kid goes over and says something along the lines of " Lily/Jonah/Kate, please don't hit/kick/punch..... me because that really hurt me and made me feel [insert child's emotion here]."
The kid that did the hurtful thing then usually says something like " I'm sorry for kicking/hitting/punching.... you Lily/Jonah/Kate." Then they hug and forgive and make up and all is well with the world until the next thing happens.
I also talk to the kid that was hurtful and remind them that "In our house/family, we do not hit/punch/kick.... That is not a kind or loving thing to do. That is hurtful. We do not behave that way. Were you showing love or kindness when you did that?" And then we have a little conversation about what happened and how they can handle it better the next time.
When it comes to hurtful words,which probably is the most common offense in this house, I ask them "was that a kind or loving thing to say? What would be a kind thing to say? "
Now, this process has been going on for a few months. The fighting and tattling between the kids was getting seriously out of control. I felt like all they did was fight with each other about every tiny little thing, despite me working with them constantly.
But, I realized yesterday that
IT IS ACTUALLY WORKING.
I finally saw that all of the things I have been trying to teach them are starting to sink in and the kids' behavior is slowing starting to change.
They are really starting to work things out themselves, in a good way. They are apologizing for hurtful things they do, without me having to tell them to apologize.And it's usually a real, genuine apology, not a quick heartless "I'm sorry", but one that shows they mean it. If one of them is starting to do something or say something hurtful, they will remind each other that what they are doing isn't very kind or loving, and help them realize that they don't want to be doing that hurtful thing.
Now, they still fight and tattle quite a bit, and I still have to help them work things out sometimes, but this is progress, people!
Sometimes I hear Lily make little comments about how it's love that matters.
They are getting it. They are beginning to see and understand the message.
I can see them growing up. I can see them maturing.
It is bittersweet, because I miss them so much as babies. But I am also so proud of them for making progress with this. And it is so fun to be around them and do things with them and watch them interact with the world.
I pray that they are able to show these little lessons of love and kindness in their lives outside of our little family.
Keep up the good work, kids. The world needs
as much love and kindness as it can get.