The trial is over, the results are in – empathy (as a parenting technique) really works!
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog called ‘Parenting . . . like you mean it’ – about a revolutionary* technique to restore peace and understanding to my household.
I’ve gotta say, I had my doubts. For months, we had all been living on edge, only moments from full scale meltdown if someone said the wrong thing or looked like they were going to. I was tired of living in a war zone. It was time for a reassessment of my parenting techniques.
So, instead of responding to all those quibbles with “you’ve got to be kidding”, “build a bridge” or “just stop it” I tried a little empathy. And the result was instant!
My youngest was on the verge of losing it. I tried to understand . . . and, as a result, so did he. There was no door-slamming, no tantrum, no need for time-out. Peace ruled, at least for a little while.
Other opportunities soon presented themselves. We talked through the options. Tried to understand the other person’s point of view. Took on board whatever emotion was bubbling at the surface. And peace ruled.
I’m not saying the process has been without its problems. There’s not always time to talk through the issues and my level of patience can be a little prohibitive every now and then.
But I’m loving it. We seem to be making more time in other areas as well and the kids are responding.
This household ain’t perfect. But I like it a little more these days.