Mindful Parenting – A Solution for Sibling Fighting

Let this moment be the teacher.

“Out of clutter, find simplicity.
From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” ~Albert Einstein

At times, Thomas and Lillian simply do not get along. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this as parents or with our own siblings or cousins.

My response varies depending on mindfulness, my own emotional state, and timing. One area I continue to work on shifting is my initial internal response to conflict. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, there was a great deal of arguing and conflict. It became my habit to withdraw, shrink, and shut down in order to escape.

I still have times when I choose to escape. This has gotten better. I continue to be aware, catch it when this happens, not “bite” that hook, and know that it can be handled a different way and there’s no need to hold anxiety from the past.

What I have found to be an incredible combination for helping Thomas and Lillian discover their own way out of the tensions is when I stay calm and mindful and use the surroundings of the moment as a teacher. During these times creativity and improvising blossom into the situation.

“My whole life has been one big improvisation.” ~Clint Eastwood

In one instance, the arguing kept going back and forth. He says such and such. She responds with such and such. No, I’m right. You’re  wrong. You’re such and such. On and on.

I spontaneously stood in the middle of the room. Got their attention, and proceeded to act out a one woman skit. I began with this:

“Thomas and Lillian: What I have learned is that is impossible to have an argument with yourself. Watch. Let me demonstrate. I turned and faced to the right and pretended like I was arguing with someone and saying unkind things.

Then I turned to the left and pretended to be this other person facing the bearer of the unkind things. I remained silent and just stared. Then I looked at Thomas and Lillian. I said, See. Argument over. If one person chooses not to respond, not to bite the hook, the argument cannot continue. It ceases.” I did it again just for emphasis.

They were mesmerized. Partly, I’m sure, as I was in such an animated state. Exaggerating my movements and words. I had not pre-meditated this as a response. I did not stop myself when the thought occurred. I just went with it. There was no more arguing for the rest of the evening.

Another time they were not in the midst of an argument, I improvised and spontaneously chose flowers as the teacher. I happened to have a vase of beautiful, amazing stargazer lilies. I was talking to the lilies – thanking them for sharing their beauty and scent with me and for adding to my joy.

Thomas and Lillian were giggling about this and I’m quite sure Lillian told me I was crazy. I told her “thank you” and added that I was extraordinary too. Then, I said to both of them:

“Look at how the flowers get along together. They aren’t fighting and struggling with one another. They are just BEing flowers. See that one leaning against the other one. He’s not saying, “Get your petal off of me. Don’t touch me. You’re gross.” This one is supporting that one. They are happy just being flowers and sharing their beauty with us. Imagine if we could be more like the flowers.”

They still argue. They still disagree. Yet, I know what I share with them is divinely inspired. I know it’s in their heart and mind somewhere. Sometimes they choose to completely ignore what I’ve shared and they both grab the “I’m arguing and not stopping till I’ve had the last word” hook.

Yet, sometimes they choose to remember and use what I’ve shared. As often as I can, I choose to use this as an opportunity for me to practice not falling back into old habits.

“Non-violence in action is a very potent force …. If we have the patience, things will change.” ~Cesar Chavez


See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Did you know I wrote a book? It’s titled “D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance” and you can read more about it here.

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