Saturday, May 13, 2017

Nine Suggestions of How to Approach Conflict

Margaret Keyser works in conflict transformation and uses her experience to transform conflict in schools, churches and governments. Margaret calls conflict between family member's mutual conflicts because they take communication, participation and negotiation on the part of all family members to solve. Examples of conflicts could be a child wants to stay inside all day while the parent want the child to be outside or a child wants macaroni and cheese for dinner when spaghetti was made. Keyser mentions three areas conflicts fall under. Conflicting parent and child needs, differing views of how to do something or what to do, and poor communication.

Margaret Keyser gives nine suggestions of how to approach these conflicts. First, listen and ask open ended questions. Second, restate and reframe the child's ideas, third, find common ground, fourth state your position, ideas and feelings, fifth give appropriate information, sixth give the child time to respond, seventh outline the conflict as comprising  equally valid viewpoints, eighth invite, discuss and choose possible solutions, and ninth set up a time to check back in.

For example, if a child asks if they can go to a friends' house, the parent asks open ended questions such as, "what time are you going there, what time will you be home, how are you getting there and home?" To restate and reframe the situation the parent then says, "Okay, so you want to go to Sally's house and need me to take you to Sally's at two, but Sally's mom will drop you off at home when she takes Sally to tennis practice around 4." If this is okay you've found common ground, if not you need to find it by stating your position. "It's fine if you go over to Sally's house at two, but I need to pick you up at 3:30 because we have to pick up your sibling from friends house and get sibling to piano lessons and you to the library to volunteer at four." Give the child time to respond and invite their ideas and discuss any ideas they may have of how to get everyone where they need to be. They may have an idea that works better than yours. Sometimes children think of thing we haven't as we're hurrying around town trying to get our children everywhere they need to be.

To discuss problems and solve problems using these nine suggestions helps parents and children be able to solve problems without feelings being hurt. These suggestions also help find where common ground is in a situation and helps both perspectives be seen and heard. This will lead to parents and children having a healthy, warm relationship built on love and respect.

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