When our children are in conflict is what we do, always really the best way to handle the situation ?

When conflicts occur take a step back & watch how you react. Our first impluse is to use authority, to exert control, to nip the fights in the bud. But honestly this doesn't teach children to work out their own differences, instead it teaches them to be totally dependant upon us to resolve their problems, and this dependance is taken into adulthood. Another reaction is to yell at them, "Stop Fighting!!" Rather than listening to see what their real needs are.

To sit back, in laziness is a pitfall in modern day family life. This laziness is the bored irritation that causes someone to yell without listening to attain the required information to help them solve their problems together. Rather than getting dragged into fights with our children,

stop, and mindfully listen, yes listen attentively!

It may be that some bickering gives them the chance to negotiate, and to work things out on thier own. It is o.k. to feel a little irritated.

Our children can teach us Patience & Love !!

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    This is probably not the politically correct answer. My father did not attempt to determine who was at fault. When the noise level reached my father's cut off point, he entered the room and provided adjustment to all the siblings. Now, if results are any indication of the method, one sibling is a lawyer, one is a minister and one is an accountant.

  • 1 decade ago

    Look at it this way..when I was young..My older brother and I fought...he was a bullying type..when I was too young to defend myself..until I learned to inflict pain in the ways he would respond to...and to this day..we still have resentment for eachother..do not talk..and to be Honest...my parents tried the whole step back..turn your back approach...CAIN & ABEL ring a bell? It is my opinion that had there been some intervention without favoritism..we may have spent the Holidays together..but because he still holds onto old jealousy...we are distant..and because I still resent him for never being a brother..and trying to be a dad...I have a strong desire to knock him unconsious when I see him next. No negotiation..So...weigh it...do you want to teach values..or invite yourself to your own dog fighting ring?

    Source(s): Intuition
  • 1 decade ago

    I don't see that this was a question. It was your wish to make a little speech about your opinion about handling children's squabbles.

    Children learn what they live, and they learn by example. It isn't their role to "teach us" patience and love. It is our role to teach them the proper way to handle disputes and sort out where compromise is needed etc. It is our role, as well, to show them that leadership does mean stepping in and ending the frustration and discomfort of all involved parties.

    Children who are in a dispute (such as "He's had the toy too long and won't let me have my turn") need to see an adult, who takes a leadership role, and who says things like, "Who picked it up first?" "Who does it belong to? Can you let Freddy have a turn for a few minutes, and he'll give the toy back to you in ten minutes because he needs to take a bath anyway; but then after he gets through with the bath you will have to let him use it until bedtime."

    By doing this, adults show children the process and steps in reasoning, negotiating, solving problems, deciding what is fair, etc. When they witness this type of problem-solving often enough they will begin to pick up the concepts and steps and use them themselves. How often do we hear some very young children saying something like, "You have to share" because they have heard their mother saying it so often.

    How often, too, would a divorcing couple wish they had a reasonable judge or mediator to iron out some of the hell of their disagreements? The fact is when people are in a disagreement that is difficult to solve they would like someone of authority to step in and inject some reason into the situation (or sense into the other person). No two children have the same level of aggression or lack of it. There's always a kid who is a little stronger or more selfish or bigger or older or less reasonable.

    Adults need to step in, point out why Freddy is not being reasonable right now, and use the situation to show kids what makes a reasonable and fair friend (or foe) and what makes a person not fair or reasonable.

    Parents need to be leaders in establishing that while disagreement and differences are not only normal but desirable among people; the home atmosphere, itself, is to be a peaceful one; and disagreements are to be dealt with in a civilized manner and not an aggressive one.

    I have a funny story: When my two sons were little and would get in a squabble their father or I would say, "separate". (Telling children to temporarily separate themselves from a squabble shows them another way to cool the situation down and be able to get back together in a little while and be more ready to work with the other child. This happens because they do enjoy playing with the other child, and when they're told to separate and end up alone the other child starts looking more worth being reasonable tgo.) Anyway, my daughter was a year old and in a short cart. I did something like put her hat on, and she didn't want it on; so she stated emphatically, "SEPARATE!!" At one year old she had learned that if something is going on that we don't like we may say "separate". She wasn't old enough to really understand my use of "separate", but she had already picked up that the way to express displeasure with a situation was to say that word. She would later hone her understanding of this type of thing, but my point is they learn extremely young when parents set an example.

    Our children need to learn that in society in general people are not supposed to just fight things out. They are supposed to deal with differences in a civilized way. Your remarks that people need to listen to their children's real needs make some sense, although listen to their needs does occur when parents step in and ask what the problem is.

    I used to, though, not particularly care what their needs were. I was interested in the immediate conflict and the assurance that it would be solved based on fairness and what is right; and not solved in a way that could possibly be cpmstrued as favoring a younger child or an older one, etc.

    When children see their parents be examples of the behavior of a person who assumes a leadership role they do not grow up dependent. They grow up to emulate what they have seen, and because they have seen how well it has worked (and therefore admired it and appreciated it) they will work hard to perfect their skill in negotiations and other handling of difficult situations.

    You have essentially said people should listen "attentively" but don't do anything. What's the point - so the adult will be able to someday write a report on the types of conflicts kids have? If you don't believe in stepping in (and you have a different opinion about that than I do), then why not just leave them to their autonomy and independence and don't worry about it at all?

    Children don't become dependent when adults show them how to do things. Most children do not pick up a toothbrush on their own and just start brushing a few times a day. Most learn how to make a lunch because they see their parents make a lunch. They learn to treat the cat gently because they see their parents do that, and they are usually told that's how its done as well.

    One other thing: Children in a squabble are in distress. Each feels frustrated and helpless and sometimes angry. Sometimes both children are a little wrong but also right, sometimes both are completely right, and sometimes one child is wrong and the other is right. These are things a parent, who steps in an objective team leader can help each child understand, and when the child understands all sides to the matter and sees how it can be resolved in a way that is reasonably fair to all involved; he is not only appreciative to have had assistance with being returned to a peaceful calm sooner than he ever thought but he can respect his parent for his/her good sense (and that pays off later when children are faced with questionning whether parents have reason behind their values).

    There are professional agencies and others who teach professionals negotiating skills and other techniques when it comes to dealing with others. For the child who had parents who taught such interpersonal skills right from the beginning such training would be unnecessary.

    You have talked about laziness and bored irritation, but then y ou're talked about how ok it is to feel a little irritated. You have talked about listening but doing nothing. In other words, you have advocated knowing what they are fighting about, doing nothing, allowing fighting to disrupt the peace of the household, and being ok with being a little irritated at what is going on.

    Most parents do not need to be taught "love". They just have it already - and lots of it. Children are the ones who need to be taught patience and understanding and working with other people peaceably even when they do not agree.

    If we use society as a guideline and ask, "What are the rules of society?" it becomes pretty easy to sort out what we need to teach our children. Children learn what they live, and if parents just sit back and let the kids fight out the problem (and particularly if one child is less aggressive or more "victimized" than the other)( children learn that adults ignore conflicts rather than address them. They learn when they are frustrated or upset that adults just ignore them. They may grow up to be adults who enjoy being able to disregard smaller people, or they may grow up wondering why their parents just sat by and let Freddy get the toy all the time.

    When kids have conflict and parents take a leadership role they don't "get dragged in" any more than the Regional Manager of Marketing will allow him/herself to get dragged into what is not his/her problem. Parents who know how to act as a leader and a teacher will know how to add reason to the conversation between the kids and how to direct them to seeing a reasonable solution.

    If you find that laziness is a "pitfall in modern day family life" and the it is "bored irritation that causes someone to yell without listening" I think that's how it may be in your family; but it isn't how it is in all families.

    I've known people who kind of like to be dependent on others, and I am under the impression they get a sense of getting attention from the others (that maybe they didn't feel they got as a child).

    My siblings and I are not dependent people, and my children and my sister's children all grew up plenty independent. My way worked in my family - but then I don't know what it is likely to feel lazy and irritated and bored when it comes to my children.

    I haven't intended to lecture here, but your "little speech" seems to presume that other people must need "enlightening" by you, while you are someone who has admitted to being bored and lazy in your family life.

    Your question wasn't really a question. It was a little speech - but I answered it anyway.

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