About Me

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Creating a family charter!


I have been quite challenged recently with some teaching we have been doing, and this has
particularly made me think about my family and the way we interact with each other. I love my kids, I love my family but sometimes it is bloomin’ hard work! When I am tired I get grumpy easily and I get snappy with them. I have 3 children and so sometimes it’s a bit like crowd control, when they are all wanting my attention at once. I have a teenager (and that speaks for itself!) and I am also affected by my own upbringing and the fact that my mum  worked full time, which I resented and so subsequently I am worried about how much time I spend working.

Anyone who has kids knows that one of the worst times is what I used to in pre-faith days term ‘the witching hour’, I can’t come up with a better, more Christian term, but it refers to between 6-8pm, end of dinner, getting into bed time. It’s always a nightmare, they are tired, I am tired, there is still stuff to be done for the next day, often one of us has to get out to a meeting or rehearsal, the kids don’t want to go to bed and we are all tense. We have tried various ways round this and nothing has worked so far! And the thing is once we get into bed and snuggle up for stories it is so lovely, it's just getting there that is hard!

My youngest two are only 2 years apart, so subsequently they sometimes really love each other (which is so lovely to see) and other times they cannot be in the same room as each other without bickering, stealing each others toys or throwing things. Then there’s the old ‘telling tales..’  the incessant ‘muuuuuum… E hit me..’ ‘daaaaaad, P came in my room’ and so on. There’s just something about that whinny tone that instantly sends me round the bend! So, as I say, I love my family…

Joking apart, I really do and it hurts me to see them treating each other (and us) without love, or without respect. I don’t like punishments because they don’t work and often get issued in anger. Something I read recently said that often punishment is about withholding love, and that is the last thing I want for any of them. I want them to know and to feel that our house and our family is a place of love, Gods love and our love. So something had to change!!

So we decided to do a ‘family charter’ for want of a better word. Not rules, or laws or something laid down by us, we wanted something we could all agree on, ways to make our home and our family a more loving place to be. So we explained to them all what we had in mind and why we wanted to do it and how it was about involving all of us in the process. We laid out a sheet of paper and invited them to write on it. The only rule was everything had to be positive. So we couldn't write ‘no shouting’ for example, but it had to turn into a positive like ‘talk to other with respect’ instead of no shouting…

 We asked them to think about things we could do together, in and outside the home, days out, what would be fun to do and so on. The result was this...


We had such fun doing it as well and it really opened up the conversation about why we were doing it together... This is only phase 1 of course, the real work is to stick to what we discussed and work together! But already it is really useful to refer to and is at the moment hanging in the stairwell so we can all see it. I am hoping to do something arty with it too, that the kids can have in their rooms as a reminder. My prayer is that from this we will all grow, that we will all be helping to create a more loving environment and that it will be something our kids learn from for their own children... 

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