Have you ever felt like a referee when you children are fighting over what seems to be such a silly object?
As a parent most of us has gone to the older child who is the most likely to listen to us, therefore ending the conflict the quickest, and asking them to walk away or to give in to the other child? It is easy to understand that this can contribute to the resentment the older child feels for the younger child. Soon the child will grow tired of being the one responsible for resolving the conflict – with the younger child seeming to “win” all of those battles. As Bill Cosby once said, “Parents are not interested in justice, they’re interested in quiet!”
Families are teams and parents you are the coach. The job of the coach is to set the tone for the family (team) and teach skills that help all the players to get along and for the team to be successful. As Coach we are not allowed to trade our players to another team and we should not pretend that we are doing great when we are not, nor can we hide from the problem at the refreshment stand. As Coach we would like to get the players all on the same page and have good sportsmanship. As the Coach we set the example, teach the skills, and keep some order in the “locker room”. There are times when we need to bench one of the players, but most important is teaching skills to resolve conflict. Check out the Conflict resolution handout.
Virtually all behavior that creates conflict is done so in order to get attention and to fill a need. The four area of needs that we get met when we have conflict and become angry is:
- Power struggle
- Learned helplessness
We will discuss all of these in other post’s in the weeks to come.
In conflict resolution the ability to express ourselves without blaming or accusing another person of something is the first part of being able to more quickly come to a resolution. The second part is to be able to listen closely. In any conversation that requires clear communication, being able to express ourselves and listen to the expression of others. This can be difficult because really there are 6 different identities involved.
- Person A the real self
- Person B the real self
- Person A – the way they see themselves
- Person B – the way they see themselves
- Person A – the way they see Person B
- Person B – the way they see Person A
The most important of these 6 selves is how you are seen by the other person. If we are to come to a resolution of any conflict, we must first be able to listen to the other party and understand what they see in us, how they are hearing our messages.In regard to impact the words we say are not as important as other factors. This is how it breaks down:
- Only 7-10% of what is heard by the other person is the actual content of what we are saying.
- 33-40% is the impact of our voice, how fast we are talking, the tone of our voice, the pitch and the inflection of our voice.
- 50-60 % of what is heard is done with non-verbals, facial expressions, gestures and other body language.
It is easy to see why we may feel that we are not understood. The two most important factors when we are listening or speaking is the way the other person perceives us by our verbal and non verbal impact.
We call it “The Balanced Life Skills Way”. It is really teaching our young people great character skills. One example is when we teach our students how to apologize, we ask them to say, “I am sorry.” Each word said clearly and separately with the emphasis on the word that means the most to you in the context that it is in. Not just quickly saying “sorry”, without thinking about what you are saying.
On November 11 and the 14th we will have a 30 minute class for parents on the Balanced Life Skills Way of “Conflict Resolution”. These 6 steps will help to cool heads down and give parents something to go back to and help their children work out their conflicts in a peaceful way. The class will be from 5:30 to 6 PM on Monday and Thursday. Everyone is invited. Soon this course, in more detail will be on line.
At the end of the 30 minutes each person attending will receive a take home sheet that they can hang up to remind their children about the Balanced Life Skills Way of resolving differences.