All whānau have disagreements, but there are ways these can be resolved peacefully.
All whānau experience raruraru (trouble/disputes) at one time or another – sometimes with their tamariki and sometimes with each other. Although every situation is different, it can sometimes help to share feelings of frustration.
Dealing with upsets
Unfortunately feelings sometimes erupt, particularly when anger or alcohol is involved. It is much better to talk about upsets when we feel in control and can speak in a calm way. Whānau can show their tamariki that talking about problems can help, as well as looking for better ways to address any arguments in the future.
Pages 7 and 8 of the Whakatipu booklet Te Kōhuri 2 are about tatau pounamu tatau pounamu Enduring peace, making of peace, peacemaking - literally 'greenstone door', a metaphor for lasting peace Maori | Noun – both its historical origins and its implications for everyday whānau life. Traditionally tatau pounamu referred to a peace agreement between warring hapū and iwi. It symbolised the ‘closing of the door’ on the issues and an agreement for future peace.
Although what goes on in whānau is not exactly a war, it can sometimes feel like it when stresses are great and tempers are frayed.
- Have there been times like this for you, either recently or in the past?
- What would it feel like to have this traditional practice of tatau pounamu in our lives today?
- How would it feel to ‘close the door’ on past troubles?
- Would you like to resolve an issue with someone?
- What would it take?
- How could it happen?
At this stage, our tamariki are listening and watching and taking their cues from the people around them. If the kōrero is negative or people are aggressive or antagonistic, they'll notice and they'll copy.
- How do you create peaceful relationships in your whānau?
- How could we negotiate a peace agreement – hohou te rongo, and include tamariki?
- How do you restore calm after a raruraru?
- What are the things you do to calm yourself and others?
- What are ways to keep your own and everyone else’s mana intact during tough times?
- Who are the natural peace keepers in the whānau?
- What concerns you about raruraru when it happens?
- How would you like it to be in your home?
- What could you do to make that happen?
Ngā tohu whānau (pages 22 and 23 of Te Kōhuri 2), and the ara mātua – parenting pathway resources (see link below), talk about guiding tamariki and negotiating limits and boundaries, as well as love and warmth.
- Are there any ideas here that might help create the sort of home environment you’d like to have?
Helping tamariki to change their behaviour
One of the realities of life is that we can’t force a child to change their behaviour. But we can change what we do, which in turn may create a change in them. It doesn’t need to be seen as ‘giving in’ to them when we let them have choices over what they wear or praise them when they do things we want them to do.
If possible, watch the Children’s Voices video(external link), which asks children four important questions:
- How should we talk to you?
- How can we help you behave well?
- How can we reward you?
- How can we help you when you’re upset?
The children in Children’s Voices are older than our tamariki, but the messages they share are relevant for all ages.
- Is there anything you heard from these tamariki that could help you to create a more peaceful home?
Let’s look at the ara mātua for this stage – 24 to 36 months – and see if there are any ideas to help keep things peaceful that you might like to try.