Harmony Week is recognized nationally and dedicated to celebrate Australia’s multicultural society. The pillar principles of Harmony Week are inclusiveness, respect, and belonging for all Australians. These pillars are not only important in the larger Australian society but it is crucial to cultivate within our own families. When children come from families that nurture inclusiveness, respect, and belonging they are better able to express these principles to other people outside their families. Collins dictionary states that “if people are living in harmony with each other, they are living together peacefully rather than fighting or arguing”. Unicef.org also highlights that parents are role models to peaceful and loving relationships. Furthermore, parents can nurture a peaceful and joyful family environment by modelling positive behaviour, positive language, and empathic listening. For this newsletter, I would like to expand upon how parents can model positive behaviour, positive language, and empathic listening.
- Role Modelling Positive Behaviour
Children are influenced by the way their parents interact with others. The way adults communicate with each other gives children a template of how they will communicate with others as well. It is essential to model peaceful and respectful behaviour. This could look like using manners and talking kindly to others with your family and community.
- The Power of Positive Language
According to Unicef.org, there are two ways that parents can create a more peaceful home environment through positive language. The first way is to avoid telling others what you do not want them to do, rather tell them what you want them to do. For example, if someone is being loud instead of saying “stop shouting” try saying “please speak quietly”. The second way is through praise. Praising and affirming family and others around you will make them feel respected and appreciated. This could be done by simply saying “thank you” for what they have done for you or saying “good job”. Your child will pick up the positive language that you use and they will use it to make others around them feel appreciated and respected.
- Be an Empathetic Active Listener
Listening to family members and others in your community can be done by showing them that you are open to hearing what they need to say and this helps them to feel like they belong. To show others that you are an active listener you can start by summarizing what you heard the other person saying such as “what I hear you saying is”. If you model empathic active listening to your children, this will allow them to do the same to their peers, teachers, and others in the community.
Finally, I would like to leave you with the following quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Peace, like charity begins at home”. If children can see what it looks like to live in a peaceful, respectful, and inclusive environment at home, they will be able to foster harmonious relationships with others outside their immediate family.
For more information on cultivating a harmonious family environment, please visit: