STRATAGEM: ROLL THE STONE.
As Parents, how much time and energy do we really have?
We get the house moving, focus the chaos, get to work, travel home, check in on everyone, get dinner sorted, entertain others and sometimes ourselves, then get to sleep after everyone usually…
Not much space, not much free time.
What if I told you there was a way of discipline that can buy a LOT of your time back?
Sick of those pointless arguments?
Obnoxious teenage behaviour?
Constant power struggles?
Well. Boundaries with some well plotted strategy will leave you with MUCH more time and freedom!
The Art Of War.
There is a book, more than likely from the 6th century, written by a Chinese General names Sun Tzu. Most western stories of great wars speak of numbers, fire power and might. Sun Tzu speaks to the weather, the environment, using clever tactics, reading the enemy and wisely picking battles.
Continuing with this thinking, when it comes to emergency parenting we really only have 2 options.
Brute force, or laying clever plans.
Let’s say our child is speaking back and lying a lot. We could try punishments, attempting to stamp out this attitude, and for a short while this may pay off. Instead, if we do some research (or speak with our partner / a friend who has children) and come up with a long term strategy to discuss the attitude and lying we can teach and grow character. Leading to a mature child who is aware and responsible for their choices.
It sounds difficult, but with some planning and a lesson from The Art of War let me show you how!
~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War
5.21 The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined energy, and does not require too much from individuals. Hence his ability to pick out the right men and utilize combined energy.
5.22 When he utilizes combined energy, his fighting men become as it were like unto rolling logs or stones. For it is the nature of a log or stone to remain motionless on level ground, and to move when on a slope; if four-cornered, to come to a standstill, but if round-shaped, to go rolling down.
5.23 Thus the energy developed by good fighting men is as the momentum of a round stone rolled down a mountain thousands of feet in height. So much on the subject of energy.
Now let’s “parentize” that, then unpack it!
5.21 The wise parent looks to the effect of combined energy, and does not require too much from individuals (their partner and children). Hence their ability to pick out the correct situations and utilize combined energy.
5.22 When we utilize combined energy, our parenting becomes as it were like unto rolling logs or stones. For it is the nature of a log or stone to remain motionless on level ground, and to move when on a slope; if four-cornered, to come to a standstill, but if round-shaped, to go rolling down.
5.23 Thus the energy developed by smart correction and congruent discipline is as the momentum of a round stone rolled down a mountain thousands of feet in height. So much on the subject of energy.
When we utilize combined energy, our combined parenting becomes as it were like unto rolling logs or stones. We zero in and pick the biggest issues, digging for the the root cause and correcting large issue that effect all of the smaller ones. As we smooth out the character of the child, they will gain momentum and continue on in the ways we have modelled and taught.
– Know limits
Within a home there are at least 2 people and personalities. As the adult, the parent, the leader, we must have a good gauge on everybody’s limits.
There will be times our partners or ourselves will be stressed, simply from life and work. In these times our limits and capacity will naturally diminish, so we need to make space for when that happens to others in our home.
With our children, different tests and simply experiencing aspects of life for the first time will naturally push our children to their limits. When we are guiding them through something difficult this shines through.
Just last night I had told my 14 year old daughter to put together her 4 post bed like a puzzle. This was the first time she had tried anything like this, but I know how smart she is and I’m learning how much we can push her. Every few minutes I popped in and made sure she was doing alright. When she asked for help I would give her little ideas and just moral support.
At some point her mother went into the room, directing her and managing her through the process. Within 15 minutes the bed was being slammed into the walls, and our daughter was completely stressed and talking back rudely to us.
If she was left to work it out, I truly believe that she would have accomplished her goal, having a new bed set up on the first night in a new house. Adding in the outside control snapped her inside and she could no longer think clearly, as someone else was now thinking for her. Her self control, lost.
Know your family’s limits, and then keep them safe.
– Notice more
In the same way, as we notice the limits in our family, be looking for anything. Absolutely anything else. The more ‘data points’, both positive and negative, that we accumulate the clearer the picture.
Every human has an inner world and most try to explain that inner world through different forms of communication.
The issue is the language we use, the words & the other person’s interpretation. Because the way words are used can change so dramatically, the best gauge is to watch the actions and to look for the consistencies. These will sell out the true intentions. Like looking inside their minds, reading the true thinking, beliefs and intentions the people around us are playing out in each interaction.
– Know strengths
nōsce tē ipsum
know thyself (be aware of both your strengths and limitations)
In the same way that we looked for limitations, and hopefully filled the gaps for those around us, now we can look at the strengths.
Where do the people in our lives shine?
Where are our children annihilating the struggles of life?
Where is everyone growing?
Keeping these strengths close, we can know when to ask for help (even from our child!) and give some confidence to them as a bonus. Why do something half as well when we have family who can do a better job than us?! I legitimately need to find a proper way to promote this, but all of the art on this site was done by my daughter!
Know and use the strengths of your family!
It will also keep you more positive in the hard times, and when they are struggling, because we have actively looked for those good qualities!
Keep. It. Moving.
Consistency is the consistent key.
Whatever is started, see it through.
Your momentum is contagious, it will pull along the others.
I believe this is why consistency is so important in parenting.
By moving through life in a consistent manner we become a rock, a foundation, something to be counted on by those around us.
Unfortunately this works in the positive and the negative.
When our inconsistency becomes the only consistent pattern we live by, we end up with frustrations and anger from those close to us (if they don’t leave). We are, honestly, not worth the time and effort.
Why be lied to and manipulated by someone else’s weakness?
Why let someone continually disrespect and ruin your plans because they cannot keep their word or own their mistakes?
Stay consistent in your positive efforts, and watch the excuses and issues melt away. I challenge you.
This momentum has an amazing effect on us and our famili…it removes hard edges.
REMOVE HARD EDGES
In The Art of War it mentioned a rounded stone rolling down a hill, as opposed to the squared stone.
“…if four-cornered, to come to a standstill, but if round-shaped, to go rolling down.”
Bringing this in to our parenting and relationships, if we can smooth things out that momentum can continue to grow.
If our actions are making hard edges (removing the roundness) then the momentum will be lost.
If we are careful in choosing our battles, we can spend our energy focusing on the “root”, the ‘disease’ as opposed to ‘the symptom.’
Imagine if your doctor only treated what was visible and obvious, as opposed to the cause… the disease or infection ravaging the body.
That wouldn’t be a very effective doctor.
With our parenting we can do the same!
Perhaps lying is the action that is bothering us.
There are many different reasons that this could be manifesting…
We could have brought in a boundary where the child was curious, leading them to sneakiness.
Perhaps when they are at school or another home they are able to get away with lying more, so they have an element to their personality that we don’t see.
Maybe they are just very determined and strong willed, so manipulation and lying are how they have learnt to cope and mask that a little (also avoiding confrontation and being called out).
The thing is, if we reacted by letting a strong willed child explore more it may not have any effect on the lying. Whereas the first example (a child who is curious being told not to explore) this would fit.
But teaching the curious child to be consistent and grow integrity wouldn’t change the sneakiness (lying) to explore, but would help with consistency and learning to lie in other environments.
Consistently diving in and removing these growing character flaws as they bud in our children will continue the momentum,
growing the relationship and making raising the child easier and easier with time.
with some of the hard edges ground down, we can spend the effort and time building up and growing the child.
Raising an individual, self controlled, confident and opinionated human who can (and will!) reason for themselves!!!
ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES
“Roll with the punches ‘Cause you know that it’s inevitable Soon to be unforgettable, yet, totally unpredictable”Four Year Strong – Bada Bing! Wit’ a Pipe
In life, terrible situations are inevitable.
Everyone goes through tough times,
and tough times are where we can grow the most!
At home, it’s no different. We are going to suffer a little, there are going to be disagreements, there WILL be attitude and disrespect.
That’s just a fact.
When a fighter rolls with the punches, they are actively moving themselves with the blows.
This lessens the impact. Sometimes it will mean the opponent will miss,
but usually a little connection will do no real damage as the movement takes away a lot of the force behind the attack.
An easy way to achieve this in parenting is by being non-reactive, having a poker face… especially when it hurts.
Again, a fighter. When in a fight showing that weakness will lead to further attacks on the sore spots… and I have experienced this.
One child I knew would dig and dig and dig, trying to get to the touchy subject when speaking with the adults in their life.
I believe part of this was healthy, testing that the people around were exactly what they said.
If they could push buttons and get a big reaction, the person wasn’t safe…
If they didn’t get a reaction, this child would continue to dig and try to find a subject that hurt the adult.
I also saw the differing reactions the adult responses would elicit in the child.
Falling for the probing and getting emotional caused future problems.
Keeping calm and gritting behind a poker face made the child move on to another subject quickly (but continue to dig for deeper and more personal things to use as ammunition).
Roll with the punches, and we will have a deeper relationship with our child.
When we mess this up, go back and apologize and explain our perspective,
building a bridge and extending a chance to reconnect quickly.
There is ALWAYS A way…
Find A way for your family today, try it out…
Just be consistent.
You got this!