This story was sent to me by one of our Parenting On Track™ moms. She does not have a blog that she uses to journal her experiences, so I thought this would be a good story to share on our blog.
Here it is. Enjoy.
Last night I overheard a brief interaction between my two oldest children. Not much for some families but for me – it was enough to bring me to my knees. The exchange was a complete contrast to the relationship I had with my own sibling growing up, which was, in a word, non-existent. Sad? Maybe, but that’s the reality. We have seen each other 2 times in 2 years. Here is how this relationship with my sibling plays out in my life now, as the mother of 4.
I would say I am like most parents in that, the reality of my own personal sibling relationship weighs heavily on my beliefs around my children’s relationships with each other. Before the Parenting On Track program, I was crazy insane every time my kids would tease each other or give the cold shoulder or any type of interaction that was not loving and appreciative. Within an instant I was transported into the future, where as adult siblings, they didn’t speak to each other, didn’t make time for each other. In fact, they spent so little time getting to know each other as kids, that they would have NO idea what their siblings interest, values or talents were. And to make it worse, I truly believed that because of this “lack of relationship” they would carry around a big black void in their life. Intense and very real to me.
Rewind to my early days with Parenting On Track. I took a leap of faith and listened as Vicki told us that we would “get what you feed in your homes”. What she was suggesting was that I ignore the fighting, the teasing, the outdoing, the put downs. I can’t tell you how hard that was for me to swallow. What AM I supposed to do then?
Here is what Vicki suggested:
- Notice your children’s strengths and ignore the rest.
- If you want kids who are nice to each other and who like each other, hold your weekly Family Meetings and teach your children how to give and receive appreciations.
Two seemingly simple ideas. So, I started ignoring any fighting, teasing, outdoing, put downing and started having Family Meetings once a week that included Appreciations.
Fast forward to now and lo and behold, after 9 years of Family Meetings, I live with 4 children ages, 14, 12, 8 and 5 who are all best of friends. I experience sibling relationships that feed my soul and restore my faith in what is possible.
Here is the interaction that inspired me to send this story to Vicki.
Peter and Sheila were up, later than I was, studying for mid-term exams. I heard a big rustle from Peter’s room and Sheila says from hers, “Peter, what are you doing?”
He replies gently, “Just going downstairs to get something to eat before bed.”
“Oh”, she says.
“Good night” he says.
“Good night, I love you” she says.
“I love you too, Sheila”, he says.
This is what is possible between a brother and sister smack dab in the middle of adolescence, when you practice Family Meetings each week and take the time to teach your kids how to notice each other’s strengths and give them practice telling each other how much they appreciate one and another.
Bliss, Peace, and Family Meetings! If you do one thing from this program, do appreciations at Family Meeting. The pay-off is priceless.
For more information on the Parenting On Track™ program, visit www.parentingontrack.com/program/details