When Kids Quarrel

I remember the day when my 3 boys were in an argument when they were still 4, 5 and 7 years old.

One would point to the other for being at fault and saying: “You destroyed my toy.” The other would say: “I got mad because of YOU.”  The other one would say something like: “I’m even angrier because of what you did.”

When I saw the 3 arguing, in a chaotic discourse of finger-pointing, I approached them.  I didn’t tell them to stop.  I didn’t shout.  I didn’t give orders.  Sure it was noisy with 3 boys practically talking at the same time.  But what good will shouting do if what I will achieve is momentary peace.  My objective is for my kids to BE EMPOWERED to handle these disagreements in the future.

I said to them: “Hi! May I ask you something?”  I addressed one of them: “Has your brother X done anything to help you in the past?”  The answer was a nod.  I asked brother Y: “Has brother Z done anything to help you in the past?” The answer was “Yes”. And what about you, Z, has brother Y ever done anything to help you?”  By this time, all three were saying yes while nodding their heads.

My follow up: “What did he do for you?”

Each recounted something good about each of the brothers.  A few more minutes and the 3 boys were sharing beautiful and happy experiences of help that they got from each other.  Smiling, laughing.

Then, I asked: “Why do you think that your brothers helped you or did all of those things for you?”  I paused and waited for their answers.

“Because they love me.” was the answer from those young boys.

“Yes.  You all love each other.  Then, why do you have to quarrel?  Everytime one does a mistake, you should recall all the wonderful things that your brother has done for you.  Because those mistakes were unintentional.  When you love someone, you don’t intentionally hurt the person.  If ever your brother makes a mistake we should understand that it was an honest mistake and we have to focus on all the loving and thoughtful things that each has done for one another.  Does that make sense?  Can you do that?”  Nods again from 3 young boys.  “You love each other so you should be showing love for one another.  Embracing, helping each other and not quarreling.”

1)  What you focus on magnifies – instead of talking about the causes of the quarrel itself and focusing on the negatives, I decided to focus on the world’s most powerful emotion called LOVE;
2) Energies are re-channeled or redirected but cannot be stopped – when people quarrel, there are a lot of negative energies within and just like anger, it would be difficult to stop a running train.  It would be smoother and easier to rechannel the discussion and feelings from being negative to positive sharings.  And by doing so, the feelings automatically follow.  When one visualizes positive thoughts, positive feelings automatically flow.

Which comes first, actions or feelings?

People would say, I feel bad and thus, I’m sulking. But the more you sulk, the worse you feel.  Try to read an inspiring book or watch a funny movie.  You will just suddenly realize after some time that you feel better already.  You might be surprised that you are already laughing while watching the movie.  The truth is, by changing our actions, feelings will follow.  When we talk about negatives and focus on the mistakes of our children or spouse, the angrier we get.  By shifting the thoughts to the positive  attributes of a person, we begin to feel good about the person again.

Parenting is not about one incident or few tips put together.  Parenting is more about leading by example.  It is a string of moment-to-moment decisions and judgments, the big things and little acts that will influence our children’s upbringing.

What do you think?

Parenting — a Joyful Responsibility

Parenting — a Joyful Responsibility

Parenting to me is a stewardship of young lives, empowering them to becoming who they are destined to be.

Parenting is not deciding for our children but rather helping them decide for themselves.

A parent is a leader and a light.

A light is a beautiful image.  It softly touches us and is easy to follow.  We can see the light even when afar.  A light serves as a guide that anyone can decide to follow.  It attracts us to get close to it.  And a light is most important during the darkest moments.

I am a single parent of four children.  I am the breadwinner and I raised them consciously, knowing what I want for them.

Knowing What I Want for My Kids:

This does not mean that I decide what profession or degree that they will take.  Or where they should be or go.  Knowing what I want means that I know exactly what kind of individuals I want them to be — responsible citizens, conscientious Christians, respectful children, with high emotional quotient, principle-centered leaders.

EMPOWERMENT — What it is and what it’s not

Empowerment is giving the power to decide and to act.  It’s not commanding; nor manipulating someone to do something or to act because of fear.

Empowerment is equipping my children with the tools to succeed.  It is helping our kids to have the courage to decide on their own and teaching them how to consider the pros and cons.  It is immersing them in principles that they will imbibe so that they have the inner compass 24-7, everyday, everywhere, with or without me, even when no one is watching.

I’m blessed that I realized EARLY ENOUGH that I will not be with my kids all the time.  I cannot watch over them every moment of the day and night to protect them from external forces, from people who would intentionally or unintentionally want to harm them; from personal mistakes and wrong judgments; from hurts and harms.  I cannot tell them not to do the wrong thing because “I will get angry or get hurt” because that could be sending the wrong message that “it’s ok as long as mom doesn’t know. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt.”  I didn’t resort to punishments because I can’t punish if I don’t know.  This would encourage my kids to hide from me. And so I decided early on as a young mom then, that I should help them acquire the “internal compass” to guide them in every challenge and victory; pain and joy; rejection and acceptance; hurt and love.  So that they will decide on their own TO DO THE RIGHT THING ALL THE TIME.

I told them, “I don’t want you to do things because you want to please me.  Nor do I want you not to do things because I will get angry.  I want you to do things because they are the right thing to do and they are what is best for you.”

Internal conflicts and dilemmas can be avoided if one is clear with principles which are templates for moving towards a successful and happy life.  There is no conflicts if one lives by integrity.

In the end, they will be comfortable with oneself; be able to build genuine friendships; be self-assured to the point that they can laugh at their own mistakes; be humble to say “I’m sorry”; be confident to take on challenges; be generous with their time, praises and resources; have genuine relationships with God and have a happy, healthy life.

This site will discuss the principles that have worked for raising 4 unique individuals.

Welcome and I hope you will find my articles helpful in raising your kids, running your household and empowering children and achieving financial freedom at the same time.

I will include principles, anecdotes, experiences and tips.  I hope you will enjoy reading and I welcome your comments and questions.