Do what you love for those you love.

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By: Tammy Sassoon, M.s.ed

Due to popular demand, Tammy Sassoon is now available to answer your most challenging parenting questions. If you are a frustrated mom or dad looking for answers to a specific problem at home, or want to improve your parenting skills in a certain area, then send an email will suggestnew and effective parenting strategies that actually work!

Dear Tammy,

I have 3 children, ages 11, 9, and 6. Each of them is so sweet when they are alone, but they are constantly fighting when they are together. They fight about the silliest things. If I am giving out ices, each child screams louder about the color he or she wants. If one child touches somebody else’s things, the other child screams, “Get off my stuff!”
I get very irritable around my children when they get like this.
I am looking for tips to create a more loving atmosphere at home and promote peace between
my children.

Dear Desperately Looking For Peace,

You are not alone here! These types of conflict are common in almost every home. I commend you for being proactive, and looking for solutions. Unlike you, many people just complain about their problems, without seeking solutions. We all know that never leads to anything helpful. Now that you have said that you are open to doing things differently, I am going to give you a few suggestions. It will be challenging to follow my advice, but when you do, b’ezrat Hashem your family’s situation will improve significantly.

I suggest the following: We must model for our children what it is we want them to be. I find that when children fight or are unkind to their siblings, it is because they are concerned that they will lose something, or that others do not think they are not important. The antidote to both of these problems is to help children feel that they will always have exactly what they need, and to know that nobody can ever take away from their own importance.

If we want our children to truly internalize these two points, we must live by them ourselves.

Sure, we should remind our children often that Hashem will give them just what’s good for them at every moment, and that their value can’t be diminished just because somebody else acts like they are more important than they are. But even more so, we have to show our children how much we ourselves believe these things are true. Make sure that you are modeling the following points:

Have a positive attitude regardless of the circumstances. (We want them to have a positive attitude when someone picks the color ices they had wanted.)

Do not worry about whether or not things will turn out as you wish. (We want them not to worry about things turning out just the way they wish.)

Treat yourself and other people as valuable and important. (You want them to know how important they are, even if someone else tries to get the “better” ices.)

Be happy for others when they succeed. (You want them to be happy for their siblings who get something they like.)

If you raise children with these values they will be less likely to feel the need to prove that they are right, or bigger, or stronger, or smarter than their siblings. Your goal is to create a culture in your home where children are satisfied with what Hashem sends their way.

Work on being satisfied with what comes your way, even if it’s fighting between your children. It is very important in life to know what we can and cannot control. We can never control other people. We can only control our own attitudes. If you are calm inside when the kids fight, you will gain the inner strength to direct your kids with love and assertiveness. You may need to set limits, separate the kids, or at times leave the kids alone to work things out themselves, as long as nobody is being hurt physically or emotionally. What I do when I find myself getting nervous about the bickering is ask myself, ‘What thought or action should come next?” When I phrase the question that way in my head, it directs me towards looking for a solution instead of just beginning to panic about a situation that irritates or disturbs me.

By implementing these points, b’ezrat Hashem, soon you will be on the path to a more peaceful and loving home.