Monday, May 23, 2011

Fighting Beasties

Lately the girls have been going at it. Bad. They fight the way my brothers and I used to fight. There is lots of hair pulling, shoving, yelling of mean things. I feel at a loss. Yes I've read the sibling rivalries books, and I attempt to implement what I've read into our daily lives. But yet we still have fighting. Frankly I think the books are bunk (I don't read child rearing how to books anymore but that's another post), and I think my girls fight for the reasons all humans fight. Other people can be annoying. Alliances are drawn and some people get left out. We're inherently a bit selfish and living with other people involves compromise. In sum, one could learn about world relations by watching children interact. But what do you do? Whole nations don't seem to have the answer hammered out much less parents. For me, it's become about working on bringing myself to a different space.

I can't remember where I picked this up...I'm guessing in a class on Buddhism...but I remember hearing that Buddhist don't see children as sweet innocents. Rather children are seen as amazingly immersed in self, and that it is an adult's job to train them towards being more compassionate souls. I buy this totally. I love my children, and I think they are wonderful but I also see that they can  be selfish, cruel, unthinking, and impulsive. I am all of these things too which makes raising my children to not lean towards these things difficult. I am not so naive as to realize that I am not immersed in the ego self. I am. Totally. But because I have children whom I want to raise to be compassionate beings I realize that part of that training involves making me a better human as well.

This was driven home the other day as I watched Camille and Piper go at it. They fight a lot and it's very physical. Piper's reaction to Camille mirrored my own angry reactions to things. When Camille yells and runs from us, it is my actions that she reflects back at us. My children deal with their frustrations and anger the way that I deal with my frustration and anger. Yes, I have moved beyond hitting but you know I do hit in my  mind. Sometimes I feel like I have to walk away from arguments because I am afraid I will punch the wall or throw something.

And I get angry over the same things. I get angry because I don't want to give, compromise, give up space, etc. When I am the angriest it's a reaction to living in a community and having to deal with the petty irritations that being in a community necessarily involves. It's also about not reading myself well enough to know when I need a break, or some time alone to reflect. In other words, it's about being mired in the self.  Even when we don't take the time we need, it's often not about the other people, it's about us being too proud or too angry to ask for that time. To admit that we need to get away. I always try to push through like I am strong when in reality I am breaking up inside, and the strong thing would be to go get the time I need to function. It's also about sometimes shelving what I want as well. This doesn't mean giving up everything but one has to compromise when living in a group which means not always getting what you want.

Today as the beastie once again begin a day with fighting I am attempting to rethink the situation. As I open my mouth to yell at them to stop fighting, I am moved to stop and think instead. What are they fighting over? How can I teach them to take a different approach? What do they need to do to get a long with each other? How do I create alone spaces for each of them in our small space? How do I teach them to go to those spaces when they need to? How do I teach to talk to each other? To communicate as opposed to yell? This morning, I realized it was a journey we would all be taking together.

1 comment:

Erica said...

"In sum, one could learn about world relations by watching children interact." Funny, I was thinking the same thing just a couple of days ago. And I also have the same questions that you are asking yourself. But haven't really find the answer. With all the fighting and arguing my daughters get into, I get angry and don't have the patience I used to have. And now that I think about it, my reaction to their fighting is as I reacted as a child when I was with my brother.