What can you do to promote world peace?
Go home and love your family.
Some parents seem to think that hate is a necessary part of the parent/child relationship. They believe that if they are doing their job there will be times when their children will hate them. They assume that teenagers will be angry and resentful and that there will conflict. When a parent says publicly, in real life or on-line, that their child is mad at them because of some punishment other parents will respond with support. The other parents say that it's normal, that the child will get over it, that the parent needs to stay strong, and that it's important for children to know who's boss. Some parents think that they have to use punishments that will upset their children and make their children angry. They think that they have to do this to control problem behaviors.
Definition of HATE: intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury (Merriam-Webster.com)
Is that really what you want for your family? Do you want your children to hate you? Do you want yelling and screaming and tears? Do you want hostility and aversion to be a part of your relationship with your children? Do you want your children to fear you?
Do you remember being punished as a child? Did it make you less likely to do something again or less likely to get caught the next time? Did punishments make you more likely to do something because it was the right thing to do or less likely to do something because you were afraid of punishment? When you were sent to your room did you think about what you had done or did you think about how mad you were at your parents?
Many parents think that by punishing their children they are being "good parents." Some parents parent this way because it was how they themselves were raised. Many parents simply do not know that happy, confident, loving, generous, capable children can be raised without parenting that causes conflict in the parent/child relationship. Many parents don't know that the most effective way to have children who are all of those things does not involve punishment, bribes, rewards or other forms of parental manipulation and control. If you don't believe me I encourage you to read Alfie Kohn's book "Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishment to Love and Reason."
Parenting does not need to involve hate. In fact, parenting should not involve hate. Parenting should be based on unconditional love, respect, compassion, trust and connection. Imagine a family without conflict, without yelling, without punishment, without consequences that are created by parents. Imagine a home where parents respect the children and the children trust the parents. This is not some fantasy I've created in my mind, this is how families I know are living today. This is how my family lives.
Do you enjoy parenting? Do your children enjoy spending time with you? Do your children choose to spend time with you? Do you choose to spend time with your children? Do you want to have relationships built on trust and mutual respect? Do you want to be able to trust your children? Do you want your children to trust you?
We can be our children's partners on the journey of life. We can live together joyfully in peace. This is possible when we meet the needs our our children. Meeting our children's needs is The Easy Button of Parenting.
If you are parenting with punishments and find that yelling, tears and even hate have become a regular part of your family it is time to look at what is causing the conflict. My blog post on Triggers which will help you begin identifying and neutralizing the triggers that are causing conflict.
It is never too late to create a more loving and peaceful relationship with your children. I know because I made dramatic changes in my parenting when my children were between the ages of 8 and 12. I am now enjoying the teenage years of my oldest daughter which lead me to write "Hopefully some day you will have a teenager." I'm actually looking forward to when I have three teenagers in the house.
Hate has no place in our house. If my children are angry with me than I know I need to find out why and figure out what I can do to reconnect. Notice that the above sentence is all what I need to do, not what my children need to do. I do not want my children feeling "intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury" because of something I have done. If they do then I need to examine my behavior and apologize for what I have done. Have you apologized to your children for your behavior lately? Perhaps that's a good place to start as you begin to change your own behavior and learn to parent without hate.
If we have no peace,
it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.