I adore my kids and as much as I’d like to tell you that they are always wonderfully kind and unselfish, that would be LYING. They’re kids. They fight. They get grumpy. Sometimes they’re rude.
Basically, they take after their mama. And mama ain’t perfect.
But I’ve learned a few tricks over the years that have had a HUGE impact on how we handle conflict. Here are my top 3:
Solution #1: The Expensive Lawyer
When: Like adults, sometimes kids just want someone else to solve their problem, but it’s my job as their mom to help them learn to solve their own problems.
How: When they approach me with a conflict that I can tell is within their power to resolve, I often say, “Is this a problem you can solve or do you need to hire a lawyer to solve it? I charge $1 per person, per case.”
The Win: I haven’t been hired yet.
Solution #2: Hug It Out
When: I use the Hug-It-Out solution when the kids are just being nit picky (I don’t know where they get it) or rude to one another.
How: They have to sit on the couch and hug and talk until they can convince me they’ve resolved it. I usually then follow it up with a reminder that any more unkindness will result in another Hug-It-Out session.
This doesn’t work with all my kids (i.e. the ones who love to hug), but for certain relationships, it’s a great solution.
Solution #3: The Problem Solving Page (My new FAVORITE)
When: Some issues are just more complex. Some kids are more complex. This approach is perfect for challenging or emotionally charged situations. I got the idea from the FANTASTIC book “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk.”
How: All you do is grab a piece of paper and say, “Ok. We seem to have a problem here. Let’s write it down and then list our ideas for how to solve it.”
Then you write down the problem at the top of the paper and start brainstorming solutions. My kids inevitably offer solutions I would NEVER agree to, but the key concept here is to write down EVERY idea without dissing it. (I’ve written down ideas from my kids that involve rocketships, anarchy and candy.)
Once all ideas have been written down, then you talk through the pros and cons of each until you land on a solution.
There is SO. MUCH. POWER. in just listening to our children. Just knowing they have been heard and not immediately dismissed can calm them down and help them to think logically and non-defensively.
It also calms me down because I always tell them during this process that we “fight the problem, not the person.” So, whether I’m helping them work out a sibling problem or I’m working through an issue with one child, we try hard to focus our words on saying things that “fight the problem and not the person.” Somehow that concept diffuses our emotions and helps us solve the issue instead of blaming or being defensive.
I’ve used this method with everything from two kids arguing about how much room the other is taking up on the couch, to more complex conversations about respect and attitudes.
How Do You Do It?
Do your kids argue – with you or with each other? If not, then will you please start a blog and teach us your ways? If they do, what methods do you use to calm things down and bring back the peace in your home? Click here to join the discussion!Leave a Comment