Student achievement is connected with parents achieving peace in the home. Both conflict levels and family structure are factors. Peace between parents and children derives from an attitude of joy and proper training. Peace between parents--whether intact, step-parenting, or co-parenting--involves choosing good will towards the other parent. The choice to step down and choose peace requires patience and wisdom. It forces us as adults to manage our pain in order to protect our children from greater pain.
According to the GA Supreme Court Commission on Children, Marriage and Family Law Strategic plan, the benefits for low-conflict, intact families include these:
o Academic and intellectual performance
o Physical and mental health
o Less likely to drop out of school
o Less likely to live in poverty
o Less likely to suffer from physical or sexual abuse, abuse drugs or alcohol, get involved in criminal or violent behavior, engage in early sexual activity
Choosing the path of peace in a relationship does not mean always giving in. Proper and healthy boundaries must be set. Yet the way we enact those boundaries influences the acceptance of them. Boundaries are not always stated. They are a restriction we place upon ourselves to control what we can for the good of the family.
Achieving peace means biting our tongue, not muttering under our breath, giving a soft answer, and not getting the last word. When a difficult boundary must be enacted, it means having compassion for how it must feel to the other parent, and coming alongside with kindness and respect. In setting a compassionate boundary, accompany that boundary with going overboard in kindness in other areas. For example, if the boundary involves saying no to getting a new credit card, have a favorite dessert or Chinese carryout waiting in the kitchen.
There are times when the other parent will not reason with you and will only respond in angst and anger. At these times, to achieve peace, you must not justify, argue, defend, or explain (JADE). Instead, simpy respond with statements such as the following:
* “That’s too bad.”
* “I don’t see it that way.”
* “You must really enjoy that.”
Your goal is to exit the conversation before it escalates further, and revisit the issue when tensions are not running so high if warranted. You may need to leave the room at that point and state, “I’m cooking dinner now.”
Setting compassionate boundaries differs from walking on eggshells in that your approach derives from a position of strength and self control versus cowering in fear. Walking on eggshells means avoiding conflict at all costs. Alternatively, compassionate boundaries means choosing your battles carefully, and sidestepping the blowup. Both are difficult to enact and both involve preserving the relationship, but with compassionate boundaries, you preserve it in healthier, safer, and constructive ways.
Do your best to shield your children from hearing the heated conversations. Train them to go into their bedrooms when you hand signal them to leave. If they have heard something, or if the other parent maligns you to the children, wait until you are with the children alone, and address it in a way that reassures them but does not force them to choose loyalties. For example, say, “Mommy and Daddy disagree about getting a credit card, but we both love you and we will figure it out.” Please note that if you or the children are unsafe from abuse causing broken bones, cutting, large bruising, burns, sexual abuse, etc. get to a safe location with your evidence and call 911 right away.
Achieving peace at home takes fortitude and strength. I have found prayer and faith to provide me guidance and comfort in these areas*. In this strength, I find renewed energy to forgive, pick up, and move on to a brighter day, and thus achieve peace at home.
*For more information, see https://biblehub.com/kjv/isaiah/53.htm
For resources on boundaries, see https://www.amazon.com/Boundaries-When-Take-Control-Your/dp/0310247454