Peace is not something that comes naturally to human beings.

This is just the nature of the way our minds work. We are made to worry and be anxious — all ways to cope and protect ourselves from pain and hurt. But peace is something we can all strive for. I strive for it every day.

Peace doesn’t always come to me, because I am not always open to it. Some days, I like the drama and anxiety of life’s curve balls. I am willing to admit that. Most of the time, however, I am very much at peace with life and its joys and sorrows.

But that is not the case when my child isn’t at peace. In fact, that’s a very different story.

Luckily, I’ve done a lot of research on this topic and I’ve already experimented with many of these ideas I am about to share. These tools to raise peaceful children will work but they will not work overnight. And, of course, you cannot raise peaceful children if you, yourself, are not at peace with yourself and your imperfections.

Ouch. I know.

Here we go … How to Raise Peaceful Children.

MODEL PEACE: Perhaps the most amazing tool of them all is showing children that there is another way. I recently had my own eyes opened to how my passion and control-freak ways were rubbing off on one of my daughters, the very one who has those same tendencies. Same thing happened with my other daughter when she started worrying at a very unhealthy level. I had been demonstrating two very natural but very hurtful personality traits — being controlling about little things other people do {sit down, don’t talk with your mouth full, stop yelling … sound familiar?} and worrying about them getting hurt {Be careful, you’ll fall down, you might hurt yourself, what if, but … } Sure, this is parenting but there are peaceful ways to let children know how to behave properly and to be cautious — without going over he top. I had to rework my words and my timing.

LEARN ABOUT PEACE: Children don’t come out of the womb using peaceful words. If you’ve seen the documentary “Babies,” then you may recall the opening scene of two African babies — the same age and look like twins — getting into a squabble over a rock. That scene made me cry with laughter as I was so familiar with it. We have to teach children how to handle their disputes peacefully, kindly, gently. For some it comes naturally. For others, it definitely does not. Teach your child peace words and use them often. We recently spent a whole evening talking about peace words. My girls already knew all of them but it was a great project. {More on that on Friday!}

BUILD A PEACE CORNER: We’ve had peace corners in our house since the girls were 3 after I read this great blog post about them. They are great. When they were very young, they each had their own. We now have one peace corner for all to use and we’ve surrounded it with some amazing, peaceful tools. Peace corners need to be away from the rest of the family, quiet and cozy to work. A simple hard chair in a corner is NOT a peace corner. Sorry. And, for some kids, going to any place away from the family is just not going to fly. Let them choose it when they are ready. If I’ve learned anything it’s that there is no way to force a child to be peaceful. It has to come from within.

OFFER PEACEFUL TOOLS: There are a bunch of great tools to use to help a child calm down. These may or may not work for your child, but the best way to promote peace is to just keep talking about peace and love and kindness. We have tried many of these tools: Meditation Jar, worry beads, angry/feelings art, calm down basket.

GIVE THEM SPACE: Truly, the best tool is to ignore their behavior, show lots of love and NOT GET INTO A YELLING BATTLE. The times I refuse to have the last word are the times the anger is diffused more quickly. For my emotional daughter, this also is a good time to find bunch of paper and art supplies to create something or draw out her frustration. She zones out with her materials, and I don’t hear from her for a half hour or so and then she’s fine. She also really loves to just go outside by herself. I am proud that she has figured out that these two things are what give her peace.

How about you? Have you mastered any keep-the-peace methods or tools? What helps bring your children peace? Do you have a peace corner? If you have any of these and want to share photos, please join the newly created Awesomely Awake Flickr Group!! I’d love to see how you are taking these intentions into your life and making them a reality!

Peace to you.

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