Conflict Resolution

Teaching children about conflict resolution, especially when you’re not really great with conflict, is a challenge but still I try. I found myself reflecting on an incident from a couple weeks ago. I’d sent the kids up to their rooms because they were screaming at each other. After they had time to calm down I brought them into the living room. I knew this could easily turn into a finger-pointing, fault-finding rekindling of anger which is why I set some ground rules.

Isabella and Quinn“I want you each to talk about why you’re angry but first, I want you using ‘I’ statements.” We’ve talked about this before so I didn’t go into a full out explanation.

Quinn, after looking at me like I was nuts, began. “I didn’t like that y…..when we were downstairs y……sh….we were playing with the same thing and y….” He kept looking at her then at me, stopping himself before he said ‘you’ or ‘her’ or ‘she.’

I couldn’t help it, I smiled. He was trying so hard not say ‘you’ at all, which is impossible when describing what went on for him. While chuckling I said, “honey it’s ok to say ‘you’ but when you’re trying to express how you feel about a situation with another person it’s important to stick with how it made you feel. ‘I feel frustrated when you…’ or ‘I get angry every time you…’ “

He looked greatly relieved and both he and Isabella began laughing which broke the tension and allowed them to express themselves without holding grudges.