In the journey of parenting, finding harmony often feels like seeking an oasis in a desert. It's a quest for balance amid chaos, understanding in the face of conflict, and empathy within every interaction. The essence of parenting in harmony is not about achieving a perfect balance but learning and practicing skills that foster a peaceful and nurturing environment for both parents and children. Here are practical tips and healthy conflict resolution skills to guide you toward finding harmony.

Cultivate Open Communication
Open, honest communication serves as the cornerstone of understanding and resolving conflicts. Encourage an environment where both husband and wife feels comfortable and safe expressing their thoughts, feelings, and concerns without fear of judgment. Practice active listening, which involves giving your full attention to the speaker, acknowledging their perspective, and responding thoughtfully, not to change their mind, but to better understand their perspective.

Practice Empathy
In John 11 we read about the death of Lazarus. Shortly after he died, his sisters, Martha and Mary,  overcome with grief, start blaming Jesus for Lazarus' death. What's surprising to note is that their emotional responses aren't actually rooted in reality. "Lord, if You had been here, our brother would not have died!" they both lament to Jesus. 

He had every right to correct their misunderstanding of reality. He knew that Lazarus' death was necessary to demonstrate His divine power. He could have said something along the lines of "Feelings aren't facts" or even offered some kind of authoritative expectation to trust Him. Instead, John 11:33-35 describe Jesus' deeply empathetic and compassionate response. He is deeply troubled and weeps with them.  This is empathy. 

 Empathy bridges gaps between differing viewpoints. It allows you to see the world from your partner's and child's perspective. This doesn't mean you have to agree with them but understanding their feelings and where they're coming from can significantly diffuse tension and lead to solutions that work for everyone.

Be Intentional about Mutually-Respectful Dialogue
Romans 12: 10 exerts us, "Be tenderly devoted to one another in brotherly love. Out-do one another in giving honor." If this is Christ's expectation for His church, how much more tender, honoring, and life-giving should our homes and families be?

Non-violent communication is an approach to communication that focuses on compassion, empathy, understanding, and honor. It is not meant to end all disagreements or avoid conflict, but rather, it is a way of communicating that cultivates peace in the midst of conflict. One of the goals of non-violent communication is to practice respecting yourself and others while discussing difficult topics and navigating conflict and disagreement. It minimizes judgemental statements that place shame and blame on others, and replaces it with communicating personal needs and boundaries with honor and respect.

Collaboration a journey, not a destination. It is a habit and a rhythm of your home and marriage, not an end goal. It is an intentional path you and your spouse walk together, not the pinnacle of your wanderings.

There are six steps to keep keep you and your partner on the path of collaboration. Each one serves an important purpose, and most of the time it will serve you best to walk this path in order:

  • Regulate - make sure you're both calm and able to listen well, reason well, and love well
  • Express Needs/Concerns 
  • Look for Common Ground - where do you already agree?
  • Suggest solutions or plans for specific parenting challenges
  •  Agree on a Plan - you're both committed to giving this a try (a minimum of 4 weeks should be considered, as it takes time to develop new habits and see growth!
  • Assess the Plan at a designated time - evaluate how well the solution or plan is working, and what may need to be done differently
Taking time to show honor, respect, concern, and care for each other's needs and feelings will help cultivate harmony in your parenting, even when there isn't absolute unity.

Seek Support When Needed
Remember, it's okay to ask for help. Whether it's consulting with a family therapist, joining a parenting group, pursuing parent coaching, or simply reaching out to friends and family for advice, external support can offer new perspectives and strategies for finding balance and harmony in your parenting journey.

Harmony in parenting is an ongoing process of learning, understanding, and adapting. By fostering open communication, teaching conflict resolution skills, and incorporating calming practices like the use of essential oils, you can create an environment where all family members feel seen, heard, and valued. Remember, the quest for harmony is not about perfection but about building a foundation of love, respect, and mutual support.

Are you struggling to find harmony and unity in your parenting approach? Our workshop, Peacemaker Parenting when Parents Disagree is designed to help you navigate challenging discussions, find common ground, and forge a path forward in your parenting with more peace and harmony.  


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