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Happy homes breed happy kids

Nov 24, 2012

FUNCTIONAL FAMILIES

A peaceful and loving environment at home is the basis of a child’s emotional stability and well-being, says Mary Chelladurai

Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anyone to this country and to mankind is to bring up a family.
– George Bernard Shaw

When I was a little child, I used to love to visit my neighbours who had children of my age. I used to feel I was surrounded with peace, calm, security, naturalness, confidence, a feeling of warmth and unconditional love in this home. This home from the outside looked very ordinary. However, on the inside it was extraordinary. I can recollect an incident from those days, which remains embedded in my mind. My friend from this family brought home a not-so-good report card and was hesitant to show it to her father. I wish I could describe the father’s reaction when she reluctantly showed the report card. He showed no anger, he did not belittle or criticise her — he only gave her a look that somehow said, “Little girl of mine, this card could never alter my love and respect for you.

I have complete confidence in you. I assume there is a reason for the poor report card, and you don’t need to tell me what it is.” Instantly I realised that my friend’s apprehension about showing the card was not of fear that her father would be angry or critical, but because she knew that her father would not be angry. She knew that her father loved her unconditionally and was proud of her, so, she promised herself to reciprocate by doing her best. The next time, she did well and made her father’s words sound true. Here, I sensed the warmth, acceptance and security of that home — a joy irreplaceable and unavailable from any other source.

Many child experts like Dr Wayne W Dyer, the bestselling author on parenting,  state that a peaceful and loving environment in the home is the basis of a child’s emotional stability and well-being. He says that a child raised in a considerably happy and good home will attain a higher level of emotional stability and will have a higher level of maturity and intelligence than a child raised in a bad home.

To add to this, Dr Spock’s in his book Baby and Child Care, says that positive emotions are the fuel that power children’s learning and exploring. So, as parents, it is our responsibility to create a home that is emotionally secure with a minimum of stress and a maximum of consistency and love. Many a time, as parents, we think that we can hide our emotions of bitterness and anger towards our spouses. Let us understand that children can sense problems between parents and other family members. This can cause untoward emotional insecurity and trauma. So, as parents, it is best to resolve conflicts amicably. Sometimes, this might involve seeking help, yet this is highly recommended.
A child needs to know that parents love each other and this gives them emotional health.

It is obvious that children from functional families where the relationship between the parents is based on respect and equality, turn out better emotionally. Where each parent, while being independent, grows in the love of the other. There is free flowing communication between the two. There is openness, goodwill, understanding and mutual sharing. Both send united messages to the child and they are together in all decisions. To state an example, when a child seeks permission from her father to go for a birthday party, the father’s reply goes like this, “I think it is okay, but please check with your Mama.”  The mother’s response is spontaneous, “If papa has agreed it is fine with me.”

With this concerted front from the parents, children blossom and grow into confident and mature adults in a congenial environment. It is said that what a child becomes in future is determined to a great extent by what parents are to them and to each other. It is necessary to understand that functional families also face inevitable conflicts between parents, but will follow a win-win approach, where no one is made to feel like a loser.

Fight fair

Let us understand some basic rules of fair fighting

* Instead of being aggressive that will make the other spouse feel down, it is good to be gently assertive. Tone your voice to be moderate and respectful. Address the issue objectively, and suggest solutions, instead of forcing the same.

*  Do not keep scores of a past event and bring  it all out in a disagreeing situation. For instance, “You are late today as usual. You are always late. Why don’t you change... “ This will put the other spouse on the defensive and trigger the fight.

*  When there is emotional upheaval, avoid preaching and lecturing. Do not lay down rules and regulations and make your spouse feel that you are in control and he or she has to submit to your orders.

*  Accept that co-parenting is more effective than imposing your ways of bringing up children. When there is difference in parenting styles, learn to listen patiently to the other’s view and respect the same. You can logically argue and arrive at a common understanding.

*  Do not get into a blame game. This will lead to unproductive discussions, and each will start proving that the other is wrong. Turn this to a fruitful discussion with the sole aim of finding an amicable solution that is acceptable to both.

We should know that virtually all fights revolve around this ridiculous thought, “if only you think like me, act like me, and be more like me, then I wouldn’t get so upset.” Once we eliminate this notion and accept our spouse the way he or she is, then we will avoid family fights. 

Another most important thing in a fight is anger. Happy people are those who do not store up anger inside themselves. Instead, they know how to process their thoughts in a way which leads them to solve a problem.  So, to avoid anger which will lead to fights, learn to create a fight- free environment. This will give your children happy homes.
“To get the full value of joy, you must have somebody to divide it with,” says Mark Twain.

I would add that to get the full value of the joys we experience in parenting we should have our spouses to divide it with. 


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