My family is in a stormy season.
I have almost 2 year old twins and a 4 year old.
My children are big balls of emotions. Many points in the day feel like I am standing in the eye of a storm while three unreasonable little creatures whip around me.: crying, screaming, falling…
And these are, undoubtedly, the hardest part of being a mom for me.
Do I lose my temper? Sometimes, for sure. How could I not?
Do I try really really hard not to - YES. And I’ll tell you why.
If we want to teach our children to not bully and not to be bullied, we have to model what it is to POWER WITH people, ESPECIALLY during the hard moments.
When we “power with” in parenting, we observe our kids feelings, we sit with them as they rage. We empathize, we keep our boundries, but, we’re kind about it. “Ah, you really wanted more TV. And mum said no. That must feel so hard for you.”
And then, when the storm has passed, we problem solve. We look to see if there are environmental factors creating the emotions (hungry, tired, overstimulated). We explore different schedules, rhythms, behaviour management techniques to help them transition more smoothly.
For older kids, “power with” looks like having family discussions about rules where all members get to share their thoughts and feelings. It looks like letting them make mistakes and talking them through their disappointments. It looks like guiding our children rather than forcing them to comply.
The benefit of this hard work? We create kids who can:
THESE are the kind of responses that stop bullying. Most importantly, these are the responses that lead to creating a more just and kind world.
Kathleen is an anti-bullying specialist, a conflict coach, a teacher, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend...