PEACE TALKS: PEACEFUL PARENTING
Mother Theresa said: "If there is no peace in the world today, it is because there is no peace in the family. Help your families to become centers of compassion and forgive constantly and so bring peace."
A special half-hour edition of the radio series Peace Talks premiered January 31, 2003 on public radio station KUNM. The half-hour version of the program is being produced while funds are being raised and plans being developed for a national series. The Peace Talks series intends to investigate how people can make peace and pursue non-violent solutions to conflict - within themselves, their families and communities, and the world. More informtion about the national series in development is below.
Entitled Peace Talks: Peaceful Parenting, this program featured Victor LaCerva, M.D., in conversation with host Suzanne Kryder about how adults can help children learn emotional fluency, the practice of naming their feelings with words instead of acting them out with inappropriate behavior. Dr. LaCerva also comments on spanking and bullying. Parent Sarah Malone and her teenage son Kevin joined the discussion with questions and comments.
CD copies of the program (#L01) are available. Each CD also includes over 15 minutes of bonus questions and answers from the recording session. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a check made payable to GOOD RADIO SHOWS, INC. in the amount of $15.00. The price includes postage and handling. Mail your check to Good Radio Shows, PO BOX 35442, Albuquerque, NM 87176. Expect delivery in 2 to 3 weeks.
PARAPHRASED SHOW HIGHLIGHTS featuring comments by VICTOR LaCERVA:
ON MODELING FOR OUR CHILDREN: We need to understand that we're teaching our children all the time even if we're not consciously doing it. The way that we deal with our own basic emotions of mad, sad, glad, and afraid, we model those behaviors and our children begin to think that's what's normal.
ON EMOTIONAL FLUENCY: As they become verbal, we begin teaching them a word for the experience that they're having in their body. Between the ages of 3 and 5 we should give them a lot of words to express the continuum of feelings…so they can express the varying hues of a specific emotion and use words instead of acting out.
We should all get in touch with some basic notions like: All feelings are o.k., all behaviors are not.
Use I statements when talking to your children and own your own emotion. There's a real different feel when we use that "I feel…" followed by an emotion word. Whenever you use "you…" you put the other person on the defensive, they feel attacked and so on. Parents can use, "I feel upset and afraid when I don't know where you are in the grocery store" instead of shouting "Where were you? Don't you ever do that again!" at the child.
ON SPANKING: The word discipline comes from a Latin root which means to understand by taking apart, so it involves an element of teaching. What we're really trying to do with our kids is to teach them and guide them to have good values, to be good human beings. When we spank them, essentially what we teach them, because most of the time this is the reality, is that when adults are out of control and have a temper tantrum it's o.k. to lash out at someone who's weak and vulnerable. We also teach them that the ones who love you are the ones who hurt you. We don't teach them much about how to behave when we spend so much time in the punishment mode.
Let's not have spanking be the only tool in their tool box. And let's also remember to catch the children when they're being right instead of always focusing on when they're doing wrong.
ON THE RESEARCH: One thing we've learned from research is that there are two qualities that if the parents exhibit those qualities their kids do much better. Those are 1) a high sense of caring and support and 2) a high sense of monitoring (i.e. "Where are you going, who are you going to be with?) Try an emotional check-in with your children on a regular basis. (i.e. "What was the best part of your day? What was the worst part of your day?"
OVERVIEW: What would you tell parents about raising peaceful children?Well first of all to find that place of peace within themselves and do what they need to do to improve their own emotional fluency and deal with their own stress so that they can be good role models.
Second is to realize that parenting is really not a job that can be done alone - that we have to do it ourselves but we can't do it alone - and that we need the support and assistance of other kind, loving human beings to help us on the journey with our children and part of our task is to hook up our children with those other caring, loving human beings.
The third thing would be to really get in touch with what are the values that you're really trying to transmit to your child and keep them at the forefront of your consciousness - integrity, kindness, compassion, trust.
RESOURCES RECOMMENDED DURING THE PROGRAM
Website: www.b-di.com: This Page is about behavioral individuality in infants, children and adults. It is intended as a clearinghouse for research and practical information about temperamental characteristics to be used by parents, students, professionals and others who have an interest in temperament.
Books: Touchpoints: Your Child's Emotional and Behavioral Development by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.
How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber, et al.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families: Building Beautiful Family Culture in a Turbulent World by Stephen R. Covey.
Pathways To Peace: Forty Steps to a Less Violent America by Victor LaCerva.
Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Daniel J. Kindlon, et al.
A movie Kevin Malone says might help parents understand today's teens:
MORE ABOUT PEACE TALKS
Peace Talks is a series of hour-long public radio programs that investigates how people can make peace and pursue non-violent solutions to conflict - within themselves, their families and communities, and the world. Each episode of Peace Talks will be recorded before a live audience in a town hall format at venues across the United States and will feature a renown leader in peace studies or negotiation as well as a peacemaker chosen from the host community.
In these tumultuous times on the planet, the Peace Talks series intends to offer listeners around the globe a chance to learn useful skills to address the conflict in their own lives. Peace Talks will bring them in contact with some of the leading proponents of non-violent conflict resolution - individuals who have made the pursuit of peace their life's work.