What would you do if your two children kept fighting over whose turn it was on the ipad? How do you decide whose turn it is, and what is fair for both children?
So you have some conflict between your children? Maybe they are fighting over a toy? Maybe you are at a child's party and the other parents are watching you. The pressure is on.
Here is a sharing from Amanda, a parent who has done my workshops.
Read how she worked with the conflict, how she supported the children with their ideas, and how she created the flow again, in spite of a high degree of 'uncertainty'.
She uses the process of Conscious Conflict Resolution and gets a 'high five' result.
Every few days I get a story from a parent who has had a breakthrough in using their new skills.
This one really shows how Intelligent skills can create amazing results and blissful flow. And this is for real. I did not edit her story except just change the names.
I have often wondered what it is that gets these parents these results. Cooperation, trust, flow, harmony. I think I know at least one answer. To get these results, this is what you have to understand, and do.
“I walked in to the bathroom where my twin sons were having a bath. There was water on the floor, water on the mirror and my sons’ four year old faces grinning up at me. I asked them who had splashed water on the floor. No one said anything. I told them I wasn’t going to punish them, that I just wanted them to be honest.”
I said I wasn't going punish them, but that was because I didn't understand that emotionally I was punishing them far more than a smack or "No TV tonight!"
And this is why...
During ‘quiet play’ all the children (aged 4 & 5years) sit on the mat and play educational games or puzzles. Throughout the year I have been nurturing the life skills of negotiation and conflict resolution with the children. It was all summed up in the following incident.
I was building a puzzle with two children with my back turned to a group of four playing a card game. As their game progressed, tension surfaced and accusations of cheating were thrown around.
Pretty soon they called me to intervene. I turned around and said, “Guys, it sounds like that some children are not playing fairly. If you don’t like what is happening you need to speak to each other.” I turned my back again.
I listened carefully as the group of children struggled to communicate their feelings and ideas about who was cheating and how they didn’t like it. I soon realised that the two children who I was building with were as interested in the process as I was because the one soon whispered, “They are negotiating now. They must talk about their problem.”
he other joined in and said, “They are solving their conflict.” The three of us carried on building, aware that the group of four needed to grapple with the issue on their own.
We were driving home from school when Cailin wanted her lunch box. When she was finished eating she asked me from the back seat to take the box as she had no space in the back. I said to her: “Babes, please keep the box with you or find another space until we get home to put it for now as mommy needs to concentrate whilst driving”.
The next minute this pink lunch box came flying past me as she threw it towards the front of the car. I pulled off to the side of the road, turned to Cailin and said in a firm voice: “Cailin, this is not on. Mommy is now angry with you for not listening to me when I asked you to keep the box with you for now. When we goe home we can discuss this again when Mommy will be ready to talk to you”.
I continued our drive and after a minute Cailin said: “Mommy, I am ready to talk now”.
I said to her: “Cailin, I said that mommy will talk to you when I am ready”.
When we stopped at home about 5 minutes later, I turned to Cailin and said: “Mommy is now ready and would like to talk to you about the lunch box incident”.
Cailin responded: “Ok, mommy I am ready too.” I then said to her: “When we drive in the car we need to be safe and Mommy can’t look to the back as I need to concentrate on the road ahead”.
As I wanted to continue the conversation Cailin amazed me when she passed the lunch box to the front and she put it nicely on the front seat saying: “Mommy, next time I will put the box like this on the seat, ok?”
I said to her: “Thanks babes, Mommy really appreciates it when you come up with good ideas.
About 3 days later we were again driving in the car. Cailin just finished her fruit juice and in a soft voice said to me: “Mommy, see this is how I will put my juice in the front when you are driving”. She then leaned forward and she gently put her juice box in the middle consol of the car.
Overall this past week has actually emphasised the ‘’fun’’ in parenting and that I don’t always have to be so serious and it has also shifted my conditioned belief that conflict is ‘’bad’’ and I should rather ‘’avoid’’ it at any cost and hence compromise on my boundaries to an awareness that conflict is rather a challenging source for development.
I had 2 instances this weekend where I used the skills we have been exposed to so far. The challenge for me was that in both instances parents of the other children were present. I felt very uncomfortable as I knew what went through their minds whilst they kept quite through the process. However, I was successful in both instances, phewwww.....
Saturday night Cailin and Jessie-Lee both wanted Cailin's little purse full of money. Jessie-Lee had it at first but was soon snatched from her by Cailin. Jessie-Lee started crying so I told Cailin that I will keep the purse on the table as we have a challenge in that both children wanted the same thing. Cailin started shouting at Jessie-Lee with the usual: " I don't like you! I am not your best friend!"
By then we had both children crying. I asked Jessie-Lee what she would like from Cailin so that this does not happen again. She kept quite and did not want to respond. The same happened when I asked Cailin. I then told them that we will chat about it later and we will try and resolve it when they are both ready.
Cailin then smiled and said: "Let's jump on the trampoline". I knew my response would be that she can't so I tried putting it into questions. By then Jessie-Lee was also very excited to go outside. I asked the girls how we could jump when it is dark outside - Cailin was very quick and said: "Let's take the torch"..... I was outsmarted.
So I asked them how we could jump when it is freezing cold outside - Cailin answered: "Let's put our jerseys on"...... outsmarted AGAIN..... I then asked how we could jump if children have snotty noses - Cailin again answered: "Let's get the tissues" and off she went to get the toilet paper.
Jessie-Lee and Cailin blew their noses time after time until their noses were stone dry. Cailin then saw the purse on the table and said to Jessie-Lee whilst taking it: "Come Jessie-Lee let's share the money and let's play". Jessie-Lee very happily joined her on the floor.
I then knew that this was the time to conclude the conflict resolution. I asked Cailin what she would like from Jessie-Lee in future so what happened earlier can be avoided and she answered: "I want Jessie-Lee to share the purse". I asked Cailin to tell that to Jessie-Lee which she did and she added spontaneously: "Sorry for shouting at you". I asked Jessie-Lee the same and she said that they must share. They left the table and played like old friends again.
In the early part of last week it seemed liked there was a lot of conflict in our family and by the end of the day I was feeling quite drained. Negative thoughts and feelings kept coming through. For example, “Am I not learning anything? Or at least am I not using the tools I am learning effectively?” “Why does everything feel like such a challenge?”
But by the second half of the week I started seeing such a change. It became evident that the girls had actually learnt so much from the conflict of the earlier part of the week. With this I realized that there will always be conflict and communicating effectively does not mean that there will not be conflict. As long as we keep resolving things and learning from the conflict situations then we are actually on the right track.
When I went into the ‘From punishment to guidance’ session I found myself feeling so chuffed to realize that in many instances I actually had been doing things in the ways that were suggested. It was so gratifying to realize that what we are learning is becoming a natural way to respond to situations.
Of course I fully expect to have many, much more challenging situations along the way but I am now beginning to understand that it is all part of the journey and that in itself is very liberating!