Have you wondered what the best way is to teach kids to handle conflicts? I have noticed that siblings fight a lot with each other. I have also noticed that the way that they fight sounds a lot like how I sound when I am arguing with them. They turn my words on each other. It makes me cringe every time. I found a list of tips from Dr. Charles Fay about how to teach kids to handle conflicts and thought that I would share them this week. Hopefully it will serve as a reminder to me that how I talk to them (or yell sometimes, let's face it) is how they will talk to each other.
#1: Remember that children learn the most about relationships by observing how we handle ours.
Children mirror their parents conflict management style. What we do in front of our kids is far more powerful than what we say.
#2: Don't make the mistake of trying to create a conflict-free family.
It's never healthy for children to witness their parents yell, argue and fight. It is also unhealthy for children to see their parents stuff their emotions and try to pretend that nothing is wrong. Children are incredibly sensitive to unspoken tension.
#3: Have some healthy disagreements or conflicts in front of your children.
Children need to see their parents disagreeing, expressing their emotions in healthy ways, and tackling conflicts head on. It's good for kids to hear their parents say, "it's frustrating when I feel you don't listen to me, or I feel angry when I try to use the car and there is no gas".
#4: Use the lingo of problem solving and compromise.
When kids hear us say things like, "How can we work this out? Here are some possible solutions, or Let's compromise", they being to see positive ways to handle their own conflicts.
#5: Use common sense about what you discuss in front of your kids.
Wise parents discuss very sensitive topics where their children cannot hear. Children can become anxious when they are exposed to situations beyond their understanding.
I am committing to working on these things this week. Who's with me?