There's something to be said for patterns and prejudices. For one, they save time. No need to think up a new reaction or thought process. The future has already been determined by your pre-conceived notions.
Which can be a good thing. For example, I know pitbulls can be sweet. In fact I am a former owner of a playful Blue bully. But a deeply ingrained prejudice tells me to treat ALL pits with care. A prejudice that has helped keep me safe in communities where bullies are plentiful, but responsible ownership is rare.
Similarly the patterns we establish in relationships offer us a sense of comfort and security. We know our partners. How they think and what they respond to.
I think the trouble comes in when our patterns are flawed. Or perhaps incomplete and outdated.
I know how my partner responds when I say or do certain things, but what happens when we get stuck in ruts and need new ways to relate? Its in those times that pre-established patterns can be the most detrimental.
The easy give and take becomes bitter. The words turn manipulative. Kindness is withdrawn.
And its all for lack of new habits. New patterns. New prejudices and ways to deal.
The general consensus for adults seeking new patterns is to seek guidance or couples therapy. But what do you do for children?
I've been struggling with forming a new pattern for my boys.
When I was coming up, my sisters and I were not allowed to fight. My mother wanted us to be friends. But that did not immediately transpire. Instead, what my mother ensured with her "no fighting" rule is that we would not commit damage while young that would be irreparable when we aged.
So I am trying to strike a balance with the boys. I know I can't force them to be BFF's but I do want to break their constant pattern of anger, mockery, and double teaming.
And I'm still not sure if this is just how boys roll.
But what I do know for sure, is that the way I respond to them and they respond to each other needs some renovation.
A little pattern re-adjustment.