Teaching Your Child to Handle Conflict: Part 2
In our previous blog post, we went over some of the necessary tactics to help your child solve conflict. Regardless of your age, conflict resolution is extremely important to practice and implement. There will always be a variety of different personalities to work with, and knowing how to reach an agreement without compromising morals is important. Today, we’re going to touch on a few more tactics to resolve conflict, and how you can help your child be a problem solver in the midst of personality conflicts.
An Effective Apology
One of the most crucial pieces in conflict management is the person identifying what was done wrong, taking responsibility, and then making a statement to work on it so the same issue does not occur again. Here are a few key points to consider that equate to an effective apology:
Not Right Nor Wrong
A common argument that surfaces in the midst of someone feeling hurt is the topic of someone’s feelings being right or wrong. This is a dangerous, and truthfully, irrelevant concept in the midst of apologizing. When there is hurt expressed from an individual, it is not a matter of it being a right or wrong feeling, but rather acknowledging that the individual felt hurt. The end.
Apologize for You, Not Them
Another common way people will apologize is by saying something along the lines of, “I’m sorry you felt so hurt by what I did.” There are few major reasons this does not qualify as an effective apology. First off, you do not need, nor should you, apologize for the other individual’s feelings. Second, it does not take the responsibility for the hurt that was caused. Avoid putting the blame on how the individual was hurt—instead take the responsibility for what was done that hurt them.
When you hurt someone you care about, it’s not a fun reality to face. As a result, people will often defend why they did what they did, or why what was done was not intended to cause the individual pain or hurt. While it make make perfect sense to you, in actuality, it is minimizing the feelings of the one you hurt. When you justify, you’re actually counteracting what an apology is suppose to be. Again, causing someone pain, frustration, or sadness is never an enjoyable thing—but addressing their hurts and acknowledging your responsibility in it, without justifying it, will result in an effective apology.
Spell it Out
Sometimes, the best way to have an effective apology is by writing it out first. Especially if your child is having a hard time putting their feelings into words, writing out their feelings can help articulate them. Additionally, taking the time to spill out their thoughts over paper can alleviate intense emotions, if there are any. Have them practice with you if they feel the need, and encourage them to sincerely consider the other individuals feelings and personality.
Be the Example
One of the largest mistakes you can make as a parent is not letting your child see what a healthy interaction with conflict should look like. Especially in families, conflicts are inevitable, and home should be a safe place to work through them. When there is a tense or heavy conflict that arises between you and your spouse, or another family member, don’t excuse yourself to another room. Practice some of the conflict resolution tactics we address in our previous blog and work through the conflict exemplifying a calm, respectful nature.
Whether you like it or not, your child will look to you as the example for behavior in nearly every arena. It’s part of the joys of parenthood, as you often are challenged to be better in an array of situations. If you notice that you, yourself, struggle with conflict resolution, it may be helpful to talk with your significant other and address some healthy ways to talk and work through them.
Learning to practice these healthy ways of addressing conflict will not only solve current situations, but promote a lifestyle of addressing conflict. Being heard when you are hurt in a situation is crucial— it let’s you know that you and your feelings matter. It’s equally important to know how to handle being addressed when you’ve caused those feelings in someone else. Teaching the art of conflict resolution early on will help prevent situations getting bigger than necessary, which often ends up causing more hurt.
At Resurrection Christian School, we encourage healthy conflict resolution tactics with our students. Our staff is experienced and equipped to help navigate and resolve difficult situations. With a strong Christian foundation, we help each student develop themselves in necessary areas that will ultimately lead them to a well rounded understanding of how to address different variables, in an honorable manner. Visit our website today to learn more about the RCS family, and schedule a free tour to meet our RCS family.