Raising Peaceful Children: Stop! Look! Listen!
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Raising Peaceful Children: Stop! Look! Listen!

How do you know if you need to rethink your values and your parenting practices?
This is the topic for today’s blog.  Several years ago, the answer to this question came to me in a flash of a second when I entered someone’s home.

The story goes like this:  I entered a home and the two children, a girl 5 and boy 7 were each at their own computer playing a game.  They each a friend over as I recall.  They were all yelling, Get him! Kill him!  I got you! You are dead! etc!

For me it was a shock, because I’m not used to hearing this from children. I learned that in this game, each person  takes on an identity and then you try and catch or kill each other! Is this the type of "games" we want our kids to play?  Is this the focus we want our kids to have?

Sometimes, ways of playing, ways of speaking, can sneak into one's life so quietly, that they are not noticed by the parents. However, as an outsider, coming into this situation, I saw it with "new eyes".  When such language is being used, even if it is a game, I believe it's a clue that something needs to shift.


Shortly after this I developed the following way of accessing whether or not you may want to rethink your parenting values and/or strategies.


You want to plan a time when you can sit down and relax! You want to just relax and take time out to observe your child or children at play. It would be nice if you plan out at least an hour of time to do this little exercise. 

Create an environment for your children, where they have a variety of things for them to do, preferably without support from you. 

Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, find a comfy chair and sit down with a notebook in hand. 


Be sure you have some appropriate options available for them to play with, so they aren't doing something they should NOT be doing, as in the picture here! 

Observe your children at play.  Are they enjoying themselves? Do they treat each other with kindness?  If there is a challenge are they able to work it out?  Do they need to ask you for support every 5 minutes, or can they play independently?

Write down your observations with objectivity. Also, try not to intervene during this one hour unless you need to.  It’s an opportunity for you to be the “watchful observer” and not participate.


As part of your observation, also note the language that is exchanged between the children.  Is it polite? Is it encouraging?  Is the tone a pleasant one?  Do they help each other as they play?
Years ago I knew a family who always told her children that they would also be together in life…so they should be each others BEST FRIEND.  The children had 4 years between them, but played together so sweetly. It was a JOY to watch.

After the observation and your wonderful hour with you coffee or tea, put your notes away and go about your day.  Let everything just settle in.  No doubt you’ll have flashes come to you of what you observed from time to time.
A day or so later, sit down with your notes, in a quiet      place and review in your mind’s eye what you saw and heard. Review your notes.  And then ask yourself these questions:

1.    Were the children happy?

2.   Did they   play in a peaceful manner?

3.   Were they age-appropriately independent?

4.   Did they speak to each other or me nicely?

5.   Was their language appropriate?

6.   Is there anything I did not like seeing?

7.   Is there anything I did not like hearing?

8.   Are there any changes I’d like to see happen with their play?
It is very important not to do this review with any guilt about what took place or expectations. Accepting “what is” I’ve learned is SO crucial for our emotional health. “Accepting what is”, is the first step and then from there one can begin to make changes.

Life is always a journey of learning, changing and releasing.  No one is perfect. And at the same time, growing and changing is part of this life. And as one does change and grow, it brings fulfillment to the individual as well as the family.

If you were pleased with all that you saw, then perhaps there are no changes you need to make! And if you saw some things that you didn’t especially like, you will want to teach your child/ren some new skills?


If this is the case, I invite you to enjoy me for a Complimentary Introduction to VALUES-BASED PARENTING.  It’s a free 75 minutes tele-class.  Click below for further details.           Click Here!

Know that when you change just ONE small thing, it can shift everything. And I'd be delighted to support you in the process. 

Happy Parenting...

6 Comments to Raising Peaceful Children: Stop! Look! Listen!:

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Lesa on Monday, November 23, 2015 3:46 PM
Your process reminds me of my former brother and sister in law and their kids. When the kids were young, they never sat down to eat as a family but ate in shifts, with the kids first, then the parents. This happened because there was only room for 2 to eat in the kitchen at once. When the kids were 4 & 7, Thanksgiving ended up a smaller gathering than normal so the kids ate at the same table with the adults and ended up across the table from their parents. The parents were shocked at how atrocious their table manners were! Eating with their mouths open, not wiping their faces, using their fingers, etc. As a result of that eye opening experience, the parents decided to remodel their kitchen so they would have a space where they could eat together as a family so they would have an opportunity to address these table manners issues on a day-to-day basis. Objectively observing your children can be eye opening. It sure was for these parents!
Reply to comment
Sharon on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 11:14 AM
Thank you Lesa for your excellent example of looking objectively at one's children! FABULOUS PARENTING! It was SO wonderful that your brother and sister-in-law took such serious action to shift the eating habits that they witnessed in their children. Unfortunately, "blame" often takes place when parents see something like this rather than positive action. I'm sure they all benefited from the larger table and eating together. It can be SO rewarding when parents step back and look through "new eyes" at what is going on and make adjustments. What a great SUCCESS story! Thanks for sharing Lesa so much!

Delia Rusu on Monday, November 23, 2015 8:09 PM
I so agree with you Sharon on how the activities our children are exposed to, what they hear, do, and learn to consider "the norm" on a regular basis shapes them in how they would behave as adults. Thanks so much for this great article that raises awareness on this extremely important issue.
Reply to comment
Sharon on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 11:19 AM
Thanks Delia for your points. I so agree that what we get used to hearing and saying, just becomes the "norm" AND not always to the benefit of the children. We do need to learn to get out of "auto-pilot" and consciously be aware. Thank you for sharing Delia.

Pernilla Lillarose on Monday, November 23, 2015 10:51 PM
Yes, it can be shocking what goes into these little being unnoticed and how that shapes the rest of their lives. Well, that is really how it goes, isn't it, which is why it is important to help install good values when they are young. We certainly influence the children and playing these killer games or watching killer movies is not a good foundation.
Reply to comment
sharon on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 11:06 AM
Yes Pernilla I so agree, children pick up so much that goes on around them. When an adult or parent begins to "consciously" model for children, they have to "re-think" their actions in so many areas I believe. Thanks for sharing here!

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