Peace, goodwill to all men

There is a lot of talk about love, peace, harmony and goodwill at this time of the year.

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Many reflect on the events of the fading year, looking forward to brighter days in the new year with hope.

In this season, the common message of forgiveness also rings out loud in our churches.

Interestingly, these are values that we so much need daily because of our constant human interactions and the need to be mentally healthy in order to be productive in our endeavours.

As we make New Year resolutions, it is important to pay attention to our social skills and how we engage with family, friends and acquaintances.

A lot of our experiences that leave a sour taste in our mouths can easily be avoided if we resolve and commit to improving our social skills.

Love, peace and harmony are a function of awareness.

Relationships have rules of engagement, require reciprocity and thrive on unconditional positive regard.

The foundation for healthy relationships is laid among peer relationships in early childhood.

Children become exposed to social norms and processes as they take part in group activities or in their person-to-person relations.

Learning how to make and keep friends is an important developmental task that children must be supported to do in order to adjust well into adulthood.

Interactions

During interactions with friends, children build their communication skills by saying what they want and feel, asking questions and having general conversations.

By being able to recognise their own emotions and those of others, controlling emotional outbursts and dealing with frustrations, they build their emotional skills.

Conflict resolution skills are also birthed in that space - negotiations, compromising and the ability to control aggression are important.

Co-operation skills are also spawned when they learn the patience to join the queue or take turns, react positively to others, or adapt to the other child’s point of view.

Peer

Peer relationships that end up problematic can stalk us throughout one’s lifetime.

 Adolescents can drop out of school or become delinquent, and in later life, loneliness, anxiety and depression are easy to fall prey to.

Caregivers must, therefore, support the development of social skills by being good role models.

We must share with our children how we actually work out love, peace and harmony, and not just make it a rhetoric at Christmas. 

Giving them the opportunity to play at this time of the year especially is not a waste of time at all since the season also offers an occasion to practice their skills.

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Whilst playing together, we must allow them to learn to solve their problems and resolve their conflicts without intervening too quickly.

When we do intervene too, we must make a deliberate effort to pay attention to each one equally.

We can scaffold their conflict resolution skills by proffering solutions and allowing them to choose what best suits them. 

Conflict

Conflict situations among siblings can also be used to teach peaceful conflict resolution strategies.

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As we enjoy the season and the holidays, may we model love and kindness to each other, especially to our young ones.

Let’s take time to explain the importance of these values of love, peace, goodwill and harmony to social cohesion. 

As we share fellowship and make merry, may the goodwill in our hearts reflect in all our daily interactions in the new year because there is no health without mental health.

May our hearts keep singing as a merry heart makes good medicine.

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Above all, may our New Year resolutions include pragmatic steps that will make love, peace, goodwill and harmony a reality for our own good and society at large.

Happy New Year!

The writer is a Child Development Expert/Fellow at Zero-to-three Academy, USA.

E-mail: [email protected]

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