Do you revisit conflict when tempers have cooled?
Or, when you child has a giant emotional meltdown, do you breathe a sigh of relief after it passes and go about your business?
Don't poke a bear, right?
The truth is, the gold is in the second half.
When you and your child resist a conflict with clear heads, you can find solutions.
This is where growth happens, and where skills are learned.
It is where you and your child can begin to appreciate each other's perspectives, and it is where you can find solutions absent the flood of emotions that were couding your thoughts in round one.
It’s hard for anyone—much less a child—to take constructive feedback when flooded with negative emotions.
This is because our thoughts and our emotions always match: You cannot think positive, constructive thoughts when you are overwhelmed with negative, destructive emotions.
So, if your child is angry or frustrated, hold off on initiating “teachable moment” conversations or attempting to shift your child’s perspective.
Wait until they have had time to regroup emotionally.
Save the discussions about your expectations, the child’s questionable behavior, or the child’s bad attitude for later when they might actually be able to hear you.
When your children are upset, your best bet is to meet them with patience. If the situation calls for you to set boundaries, do so, but remain steadfast and calm in your word choice, demeanor, and tone of voice.
Let your child know you are listening and patient by saying things...
As much as we might wish to avoid it, arguing with our spouses in front of our children happens.
This does not mean we are bad parents. In fact, if we can remain calm and respectful during a disagreement, it can even be healthy for children to witness us work through a touchy subject—especially when there is a resolution on the other side.
When couples have healthy rules of engagement for conflicts, children are able to form healthy conflict resolution models for themselves.
Healthy conflict involves:
If you can achieve some (or sometimes all) of this, you are a conflict resolution rock star.
But what happens when parents get into a fight they wish their children hadn't seen?
Our thought is this ...
First, it happens.