In any family, there is conflict. In a larger family, there is more conflict!
This week for family meeting, the important item on the agenda was:
I created a simple Conflict Resolution Model and printed it out.
It goes something like this:
1) I FEEL…
2) WHEN YOU…
3) I NEED…
4) Now, LISTEN
So it would sound something like this:
“I feel (emotion – sad, angry, etc) when you (behavior – take my stuff, call me a name, etc). I need you to (action – ask, say it in a kinder way).”
Then you WAIT for the other person’s response/explanation/attempt to repair etc and repeat back what they said.
We did some role playing and the kids got to take turns being Person A (the one who is “bugged”) and Person B (the responder). We also talked about how important it is to handle conflict gently. Since siblings are more or less stuck with each other, minimizing the wear and tear can make them happier, as well as their parents. And happy parents are so much more fun!
Here is the cheat sheet I made. It’s a Google Doc so you can download, edit and print it if you like:
There is entirely too much “exploding” that goes on when someone has a problem with someone else’s behavior around here. My hope is that giving the kids proper conflict resolution training to air their complaint gently but effectively will help minimize that. Name calling, yelling and accusing are big No-Nos too.
It will also help eliminate tattling. We don’t have a big problem with this because I’ve never rewarded tattling. But if someone comes to us with a complaint, we will check to make sure they’ve taken steps to resolve the conflict peacefully first, before intervening.
I also hope that by reminding them and modeling these skills, they’ll keep them as adults. Learning to resolve conflict peacefully and still be heard is a challenge that many adults have never mastered. If they “get” this, they’ll be one step ahead in their friendships, in the workplace, and in their marriages.
How have you taught your kids to resolve their problems? What’s worked for you?