Conflict! It’s a scary word for some. And as parents, we may have the tendency to want to automatically solve the conflicts our children encounter. But is it the right thing to do? Hmm …
In this comic, we explore the important role that parents play in helping their children approach conflict with confidence, and co-create their own responses. Have a read, and don’t forget to reflect on your own experiences with your child.
When our children come to us with an issue, it’s helpful for us parents to be attentive and open to listening to their experiences. While the conflict may not seem world-shattering to an adult, to a child … it might just feel that way.
It’s important that you don’t diminish their experience by sweeping in and taking over. We know it’s hard, but try!
Instead, consider responding calmly, but with urgency. It’s simply about acknowledging their feelings and offering comfort and guidance first, before coming up with solutions.
This will go a long way in helping your child develop the tools to understand and process future conflicts on their own.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you’re off the hook! It’s important to show your child you are always there to listen and support them. This simple act lets your child know they are not alone, and can help to de-escalate the emotional turmoil they may be feeling.
Just like the parent in the comic, you may find it useful to identify and reflect on your child’s instinctive response to conflict. What do you notice?
Do they feel a deep sense of injustice, anger or frustration? Why?
Are they forthcoming with their experiences, or closed-off and silent? What can you do to help them open up and express their displeasure?
Is it possible your child feels embarrassed about a particular situation or issue? If they are more self-conscious, what can you do to be more sensitive to their feelings?
Are there other factors at play? Consider how they are being taught by a teacher, if they are struggling with a particular subject at school, if they feel time pressures, are cranky, or if it could be a build-up of issues?
Here are a few more things to consider when your child experiences a conflict:
Try to give them your immediate attention with direct eye contact. This can anchor your child, show them you care, and strengthen their confidence to try out conflict resolution skills!
Simply offer your presence, comfort, and reassurance to let them know that they are not alone – it’s powerful!
By modelling constructive responses to conflict, your child begins to learn how to safely and confidently manage situations on their own.
After all, we won’t always be around to help.
By laying the foundation, and equipping them with tools, they can develop healthy techniques to resolve conflict on their own.
With Connected, you can discover insights about how you and your child deal with conflict, and access useful tips and strategies to practise.
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