During the holidays, idealistic phrases such as “Joy to the World” and “Peace on Earth” can be found nearly everywhere—greeting cards, advertising, decorations and more.
However, when daily life becomes busy or filled with worries, many of us struggle to carve out time to consider how to make the world a better place. Yet most of us aim to do just that, especially for the children who are the center of our lives.
Whether your family celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice or another holiday, the holidays provide a good reminder to be grateful for the positive things in our lives. It’s also a great time to take a few moments each day to consider how to make your family life as peaceful as it can be.
Being a parent is challenging. We not only have to balance the stress of finding or keeping work while being present for our families, but also provide support our children need to succeed, including developing life skills, like problem solving and conflict resolution.
With a little extra emphasis on gaining these skills, you may enjoy more confident and ultimately successful children–which will take your family an important step closer to doing your part for peace on earth.
So how can you achieve a more peaceful family life? Here are a few positive parenting tips that can help:
Have realistic expectations of your family, partner and children.
Often during the holidays, we expect a lot—at times, perhaps too much—of ourselves and other family members.
Take time to think about what’s most important – whether it’s spending time together, helping others in need, giving gifts or staying within a budget – and talk about it with your partner and children. Turn expectation-setting into an opportunity for open conversation. Consider a weekly time together where all family members can share wins and frustrations, and have an opportunity to solve problems.
Model the positive behaviors you want to see.
Children learn new skills by example, and family members are their teachers. First show them the skill, then provide your child opportunities to learn the new skill. For example, speak calmly and politely to each other. Then prompt your child to speak politely (example: saying “please” and “thank you”), and praise your child for their efforts (example: “Thank you for using your polite words.”).
Show your love through affection and attention.
Give your child lots of physical attention—hugs, high-fives or holding hands—and be affectionate as a family. When your child wants to show or tell you something, stop what you’re doing for a few moments and look and listen. This kind of short but frequent quality time reassures your child that you’re interested, and that you’ll be available when your child needs you.
Take time to recharge.
Even though most December holidays are about giving to others, take time every day to look after yourself, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Try taking a few deep breaths, go for a 10-minute walk, listen to your favorite song or call a friend. You’ll be better able to look after your child’s needs if you also look after your own.
Raising the next generation to be confident and resilient, and have conflict resolution skills is a vitally important task that requires effort and patience. Taking the time to invest in your family and learn new parenting strategies can be a gift not just to your family, but also to the world.
These tips come from the Triple P - Positive Parenting Program, made available locally by First 5 Santa Cruz County. Triple P is scientifically proven and is the world’s leading positive parenting program. In addition to tips like these, Triple P also offers classes and one-on-one meetings to help parents handle everyday parenting challenges.
For more information about Triple P, visit triplep.first5scc.org, www.facebook.com/triplepscc or www.youtube.com/triplepsantacruzco. To find a Triple P class or practitioner, contact Stephanie Bluford at 831-465-2217 or firstname.lastname@example.org