The first time I met my husband’s family, we were newly dating, and he took me to Cleveland, OH to meet his Mom, Dad, and Sister. It was a great visit, but I felt like I had stepped into somesort of bizzaro-world where people don’t speak…they shout. Happy, sad, angry, scared, worried–no matter which emotion was being expressed, it was expressed LOUDLY.
So, it’s no surprise that our own family is just plain loud. And, our conflicts? Well, they’re REALLY loud. Be it genetics or environment, we seem to have no problem expressing our dissatisfaction, and I’ve noticed the conflicts between the kids have gotten louder and more frequent. To someone who didn’t grow up in a loud household, it’s sheer torture.
I think it’s fair to say we have a conflict culture problem. It’s rare to go two hours without the kids fighting (loudly)over something, and I’m wondering: are my children growing up in a high-conflict home? Is our family culture riddled with conflict? Will this become our new “normal”?
Not on my watch.
So, every night, we now have what’s called “family time.” We gather in my son’s room, and each of us takes turns saying what we love about each family member from that day. May I just say–it’s really had a positive impact on our culture of conflict.
Perhaps it’s because we end the day with positive feelings about our family–or maybe the kids just like togetherness with us–but, I’ve seen a marked decrease in the number of conflicts the kids are having.
It got me wondering–can we change our conflict culture? How many people think high-conflict living is “normal”? Is it?
I may not have a magic wand that will keep my five year-old son from pinching his sisters, but I think I’ve stumbled upon something, anyway. And, in our home these days, any improvement is welcome.