How to Peacefully Work Through Disagreements with Your Child

Children go through phases of parental opposition. Toddlers learn the word no, which quickly becomes the go-to response for even the simplest of requests. At kindergarten age, kids learn to voice their opinions. “I don’t want to eat vegetables mom!” Maybe even, “Dad, that’s not how my teacher said to do my math.” As preteens they question how in touch you are with today’s world, and as teenagers, they blatantly disregard your guidance. Every parent has endured these stages and every child has participated in at least a few of the scenarios above. All of them are developmentally normal. But normal doesn’t equal easy. Disagreements get more difficult to handle the older your child gets, but there are helpful approaches to diffusing, instead of escalating, arguments.

Listen and Validate

The first step is simply to listen. No matter how you personally feel about what your children or teens have to say, the least you can do is listen. Listening requires an open mind, positive body language and responses of acknowledgement. We give our spouses, colleagues and friends the respect of feeling heard, even in moments of discord, so we owe our children nothing less. After allowing them to voice their thoughts it’s important to validate their feelings. Remember that validation isn’t synonymous with agreement. It’s possible to let your children know that their feelings are valid without agreeing with their method of expression or the thought process that led them to their conclusion.

Explain Your Perspective

Now that you’ve taken the time to listen, the next step is to explain your perspective. You may have very strong opinions about how your children are acting or the things they’ve said, but try your best to take a deep breath before sharing your opposition. Explosive anger will only breed an equally volatile response. The goal is to bring peace and offer the most reasonable solution. Be concise. No one enjoys hearing a long drawn out explanation of why they are wrong. Instead of belaboring the point, try using phrases that provide clarity in the most tolerable form. If your children attempt to interrupt you while you are sharing your thoughts, now is the time to nip that habit in the bud. Just as you gave them a chance to speak without interruption, they now need to do the same. If they are doing it to you, they are accustomed doing it to other people as well. Remember that these moments of opposition provide wonderful teaching opportunities to model healthy communication skills.

Extend Love

The last step is to extend an olive branch of love. Whether that be a hug, kind word or a trip for ice cream. Whatever best fits your family dynamic will suffice. After heated exchanges, both parties’ feathers may be a little ruffled. As the parent it’s your responsibility to take the high road and spearhead efforts to soothe any remaining animosity. At the end of the day you both love each other and desire a harmonious coexistence. You won’t always walk away in agreement, but you will always have love to fallback on.

Raising children is tough. As they age, they begin to form opinions that are just as strong as yours. Fortunately, if you rely on the techniques above, your family will learn that disagreements don’t need to lead to heated debates that end in hurt feelings. Embrace your role as the best example your children have and be the change you wish to see.

Theron and Darlene NelsonHow to Peacefully Work Through Disagreements with Your Child
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3 Ways to Make More Time for Your Loved Ones in 2018

We are already a few weeks into 2018, which means our New Year’s resolutions are set, and we are hopefully well on our way to making these next 12 months the best ones yet. There is so much pressure at the beginning of each new calendar year to make the next 365 days the most productive, successful, and healthy ones to date. And while it’s wonderful to be on a constant journey of self-improvement, don’t forget the next year is also an opportunity to improve your relationships with your loved ones. After all, that’s what makes life so worthwhile. So in addition to your personal goals in the new year, make an effort to improve your relationships with the people you love the most. Here are 3 ways to make more time for loved ones in 2018.

How to Make More Time for Loved Ones

Give them your full attention when you’re with them

First and foremost, make an effort to eliminate all distractions when you are spending time with the people who are the most important to you. In a world of smartphones and constant notifications, it can be a challenge to devote 100% of your attention to the people you are with. Set goals this year to spend quality time with your loved ones this year, which means putting down the phone and diving into conversation with the people you are with.

Never underestimate the power of a phone call

Sometimes it can be difficult to stay in touch with loved ones when you don’t live in the same city. Between busy schedules and commitments, it can be a real challenge to find opportunities to spend time together. However, never underestimate the power of a phone call––even if you don’t have anything specific to tell them. Pick up the phone and give them a ring just to check in and see how they are doing. Knowing that someone is thinking of you is one of the best feelings.

Keep them at the top of your priorities list

Perhaps, most importantly, the best thing you can do to improve your relationships with your loved ones is to always keep them at the top of your priorities list no matter what. It can be hard to balance the efforts you devote to improving yourself and reaching your personal goals as well as the efforts to improve your relationships with the people in your life who matter most. But keep your relationships at the top of your priorities list, so that you don’t let anything else get in the way of spending time with your loved ones.

Make 2018 the best year for yourself and your relationships by following these three tips to make more time for loved ones.

Theron and Darlene Nelson3 Ways to Make More Time for Your Loved Ones in 2018
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