Much like with marriage, to keep the peace between you and your children, it’s important to learn the fine art of picking battles. The phrase may seem trite, but knowing how to correctly apply it to your family dynamic can make a huge difference in your quality of life.
For example, my daughter struggled with sleep issues for a long time. And by long time, I mean years… and years and years. The kid would fight me at bedtime like a combat ninja. The nightly battles were frustrating, exhausting and downright ugly. It got so bad that I ended up consulting a sleep expert for help. After a series of consultations, I was able to draft a strict schedule that we followed every night until it finally broke my night owl. However, getting my child to go to bed minus the massive meltdowns was only part of my success. The kind doctor who assisted me in implementing the sleep techniques was also the one who schooled me on the fine art of picking battles.
One of the greatest lessons I learned is this: Just because your child does something that irritates you, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Before you go off on your kid, consider whether what she is doing is dangerous or immoral; if it’s not then reconsider going to battle on the issue. Obviously, it’s your job as a parent to stand firm on major issues, especially if your child’s actions are putting her or others in harm’s way. However, if the issue involves something benign, such as your child tapping his fingers on the table as he waits for dinner or singing off-key with gusto during the car ride to school, then you may want to put your boxing gloves away. Sure, the drumming of fingers or lousy singing may grate on your nerves, but that’s the stuff of childhood and when you are a kid, well, a lot of times you act your age. You could gently ask your child to tone it down, but you don’t have to start a war over finger tapping.
What are other ways you preserve the peace in your family?