By LOYLA LOUVIS
For Montclair Local
In “Mother Matters,” parenting and life coach Loyla Louvis, AACC, provides parenting tips. She is dedicated to eliminating frustration in the parenting journey by customizing solutions to fit the uniqueness of each family. A mother of four children, she is experienced with single parenting, remarriage, home education, mentoring and teaching. Louvis runs Mothers in Training, LLC, and is a certified professional parenting consultant/coach. More info can be found at mothersintraining.org.
The classic fairy tale of tragedy and triumph captivates the audience of every generation. The harrowing plot riddled with suspense frequently portrays a valiant knight overcoming danger and death to find his prized damsel in distress. Worldwide, little ones enthralled with such adventures dream of becoming the heroic knight, damsel or princess in waiting. Ultimately, it is the end-of-the-story happiness that resonates so powerfully with young and old alike.
Such childhood fantasies may appear to fade with adulthood, but frequently resurface unconsciously in marriage. While Bride and Groom utter the words “I do,” somewhere deep down may be the classic storyline playing out with dreams of “Happily Ever After” as the final chapter.
While the husband and wife may successfully create a fairy tale life, the relationship can take an unexpected shift when children enter the picture. Differing parenting styles, perspectives on reality and coping mechanisms can create friction for which no classic story ever makes mention. When this disconnect leads to dishonoring words, behaviors and actions, little ones may question the family’s potential for happiness.
Here are some ways to secure a positive storyline within the family:
- Acknowledge different perspectives. No two people experience life the same way. Talking matter-of-factly about the uniqueness of perspective reduces the negativity associated with disagreements. “It’s so interesting to discover how differently we view this situation!” is a low-conflict way to respond during a conflict. Get comfortable with the idea that you each have different perspectives on various topics. Ego makes no room for disagreement, but humility is eager to consider a new view. When the family can g laugh rather than argue over varied opinions, tension is released, and relationships flourish.
- Respect the personhood. Nobody deserves to be disrespected for having a different opinion or perspective. Equality in the family means that differences do not disqualify or devalue. “I don’t agree with you, but I respect your perspective” honors the person in spite of the disconnect. The freedom to voice an opinion, even a disagreeable one, promotes confidence and self-worth when done respectfully. When family members maintain respect, regardless of differences, dignity is elevated in the household.
- De-emphasize the differences. Nobody is going to have a change of heart willingly as a result of shaming, belittling or condemnation. A focus on self-improvement and self-correction speaks volumes to the family. “I’m no longer focusing on the way you speak to others. I’m working on the way I respond,” is influenced by example. If you focus on becoming your best self, others struggling within the household are more likely to notice the achievements and success that manifest. When family members de-emphasize the faults of others and instead influence by example, positive change is more likely to result.
Classic fairy tales which delight children in households across the world have subtly shaped the way we think about life and love. But children can highlight that different people view “happily ever after” differently. Everyone benefits from acknowledging, respecting and de-emphasizing those differences. The result is a family storyline that has the potential to live happily ever after.