We asked a mum of one of our families at Dundonald Church to write a blog about what life is like for her and her family in lockdown

#2 – 15/04/2020 – School ‘holidays’ and managing conflict!

“I think its been really good for us to slow down”

So we made it through the first two weeks of “school at home”, and then had a change of pace doing “Easter holidays” at home. I think it’s been really good for us to slow down. We were disappointed that our plans to see extended family had to be cancelled, but it’s been nice to not travel anywhere and have more relaxed time as the 5 of us. It’s reminded us of some quiet family holidays we’ve had in the past where we did little but hang out in a garden, read, play games and eat. And though it’s often hardest for my husband to switch off during holidays at home, he’s been busy in the garden, as we do what feels like our yearly short burst of gardening!! The amazing weather has obviously helped!

So many special things we were looking forward to in the coming months have been cancelled, but this week we’ve heard that summer camp for our eldest two is not happening. That was really hard and sad. It’s a reminder that the impact of coronavirus is going to last a long time.

Time together

It’s been lovely that the conflicts between us all have been interspersed with happy moments of playing together, so we’re thanking God for that. We went for a family walk the other day, with a surprising lack of complaints, and really enjoyed it!

Another lovely thing was going for a walk with my eldest and really talking about important things. Made me wish we’d been doing that more often, and want to make sure we make 1:1 time with each of the kids.

Yet it’s also amazing how quickly we can go from a happy, peaceful time of enjoying each other to grumpy conflict and really not enjoying one another. I have this tension between my desire to spend more time with my children and deepen our relationships, and my desire to have some time on my own.

Managing conflict…

I think one of the blessings of having less time pressure… means
we do have the time to talk and pray things through more –
we just need masses of wisdom, grace and humility to do it.

Having my husband around more in the day has meant we’ve been able to share the managing of the arguments and conflict. I’ve been pondering how to best deal with sibling arguments –

a) ignore them? (very tempting, but that’s just because I can’t be bothered and I’m prioritizing my own comfort);

b) try to find out what’s going on in their hearts by asking questions? (sometimes helpful in revealing what the issue is but I often feel frustrated that my efforts don’t bring change – need to remember it’s not my job to change my kids’ hearts);

c) just make them apologise? (for the perceived offence or just if I can see there’s been unkindness?);

d) separate them so it doesn’t happen? (but then there’s also no opportunity to grow in grace towards each other.)

I do all these at different times. Sometimes I remember to pray with them. Sometimes there are signs of grace in softer hearts and willingness to say sorry, sometimes not. Sometimes I respond to their sin with my own by speaking harshly, out of my own frustrated desire for peace and harmony, or because my plans to accomplish x, y and z are being thwarted.

I think one of the blessings of having less time pressure in terms of not needing to be somewhere at a specific time means we do have the time to talk and pray things through more – we just need masses of wisdom, grace and humility to do it. Wonderfully the Lord does promise us wisdom and grace when we ask (James 1:5 & 4:6).

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More about the author :

Dundonald Kids

Dundonald Kids is the team led by our Children's Minister Natasha Small that aims to partner with parents in growing young disciples of Christ.

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