Personality clashes. Birth order strife. Jealousy. Selfishness.
Surely your children never display these types of problems. Right?
It seems at our house that while summertime increases our quotient of family fun, it can also increase our quotient of family squabbles. So I figure that as the leader of these day-to-day family operations, it is my job to find ways to minimize our problems.
(Next week we are heading out for our week long family vacation. So, I am going to give this my best shot....and then I would welcome your ideas also!)
1. Balance Free Time with Structure
I love our more relaxed schedule. But it is easy for everyone to get their own individual plans going, and then selfishness sets in. Really, we all do much better with some structure that I communicate clearly early in the day... or even better, the night before.
2. Celebrate the Unique Personalities
My kids seem to take their lead from me. When I am affirming each of my children—even if I am not understanding their preferences very well—then the other children follow my lead better.
3. Ban Unwholesome Words; Require Words of Life
We needed the power of God's word working in our hearts. Ephesians 4:29 has been our memory verse for the last several weeks.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)
I am pleased to report that this has helped tame the tongues and clearly identify the errors.
4. Provide Tools
Interpersonal conflicts are a reality of life. I believe spending the time to help siblings learn to effectively resolve their conflicts is a good investment in my future grandchildren's lives. And, I often remind the "warring" parties that learning this skill now will prevent pain in marriage.
5. Maintain Physical Health Habits
Sloppy eating habits + too many late nights + not enough fluids + too much heat = crankiness.
Sometimes we are caught in conflicts that are really just symptoms of irritation.
6. Sudden Trip to Dairy Queen
Doug reminded me to include this one. Hey, with this many teens in one house, sometimes we just need to call a truce and provide some sweet distraction!