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Monday, December 22, 2014

On Parenting and Conflict Resolution

Posted by William on October 8, 2012

It is an age-old story, parents, kids and arguments! I decided that now would be the perfect time to write about the subject of ‘getting along,’ now that school has begun and conflicts will most likely arise.

There is usually a battle about homework time, curfew, jobs around the house or maybe even about allowances or “sleep-overs” at a friends house.

The idea of conflict resolution is not new, but it always helps to brush up when we have not used our skills for a while. The information below will be good for parents and kids to follow and maybe even print out, so you can refer to it when needed.

In resolving conflict it is best to “agree” to a convenient time to get together. If you have to be somewhere, don’t get into a conflict. Instead, pick a better time to discuss it. Then identify the problem and write it down.

Discuss only one subject at a time. If another subject comes up during the conflict, write it down and discuss it later.

It is best to identify the ways you have attempted to solve this problem in the past. Brainstorm! Have everyone write down as many possible solutions as they can think of. Use your imagination, because at this point anything goes!

Always remember if you attack: you will most likely do better in a conflict if you attack the “subject” rather than the person. People who feel attacked usually retreat or come out swinging (and I don’t mean dancing)! You know from personal experience that when you are personally attacked you get defensive. So always attack the “subject or issue.”

Sending “I” messages will work 100 times better than “You” messages. “I” messages are ones where you share a feeling such as, “I feel sad when …,” or “I feel angry or put down, or uncomfortable etc.”

When we use “you” messages like, “You are nothing but a so and so, or you should have done …,” or “you make me feel …” These are never effective in resolving conflict. In fact, it makes it worse.

So if it is your desire to create peace in the family, stick to what works and evaluate your intentions. People are much less defensive when we treat them with respect — even if we are upset.

Evaluate each of the suggestions from the other person in an objective mode, instead of mind reading and thinking about what you want to say. Listen more and speak less. Isn’t that why the creator gave us two ears in the first place, and only one mouth?

If it is our intention to be “the winner”‘ in a conflict, then no one wins. It is lopsided, and ends up where the conflict is in a stagnant place; not really resolved at all.

The best resolution is where we strive for “no-win/lose solutions,” and where all parties come out feeling better. It actually comes out where it is a “win-win” if parties resolve and come to an agreement.

Next, put yourself in the other person’s shoes. This is the best lesson in compassion I know. What if the tables were turned?

List the ways that each of you can contribute to the solution and agree to use this solution for one week. Acknowledge and praise each other during the week for working out the solution and remember that any decision is renegotiable.

Good luck in your resolving of conflicts!

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