How Conflict With Your Kids Is Avoidable, Not Inevitable!
Today’s post is inspired by some work I’m doing ATM with a group of children.
They persistently get in to conflict with the adults in their setting, and this 👇 is how we’ve been developing awareness and techniques to break that cycle.
These are useful skills for all kids to have, but are equally; if not more important; for their adults to have, too.
Because adult-child conflict happens way too easily.
It usually starts with a simple request; to use their manners, put their stuff away, turn off the tablet; any of the usual suspects.
But they don’t want to cooperate or comply. Or maybe they disobey or misbehave or lie…
Either way, our efforts to be parent we want to be quickly disintegrate into disagreements, bribes, threats, raised voices, and all the frustrations that come with it.
But our children need to learn and so, quite rightfully, letting it slide is not an option.
And so the outcome; one of you winning, one of you losing, but nobody feeling good; seems inevitable.
Except it doesn’t have to be.
Because even though the sequence feels like this;
1) ‘Trigger’; the behaviour, the lie, the 100th ‘No!’
there’s actually a chain of command in between that we can interrupt;
The problem is that we usually react to our thoughts and feelings so quickly that we never even notice them.
So next time, stop, and try not to do anything until you’ve paid attention and listened to them, for just a moment… Our thoughts usually sounds like this;
He’s just being difficult/I’m so fed up with being ignored/they know better/why does she have to behave like this?
Our subsequent feelings are usually frustration, anger, anxiety, maybe even shame or fear etc, etc.
But you CAN challenge what you’re thinking…
Notice what changes when you ask yourself; are they ignoring you intentionally, or feeling disempowered, or frustrated themselves, or maybe just not even hearing you at all?
Even if you fast-forward straight to the feelings part, can you choose a different emotional response?
You don’t have to switch off your irritation or annoyance, but stirring in a bit of appreciation, hope, relief or love can massively dilute our gut-instinct to simply react.
And here’s one more thing…
Even if you still think the unpleasant thoughts, and still feel the uncomfortable feelings, they don’t have to sabotage your ability to control your response, rather be controlled by your reaction.
Challenging our own thoughts, feelings and reactionstakes patience and persistence.
It’s an ongoing job, and we have to be realistic; when we’re amidst emotional overwhelm, we operate more from impulse than clear thinking, so this won’t happen overnight.
And because our ‘reactive brain’ also stops rational thinking in its tracks, don’t wait until you’re in full-throttle before giving this any thought.
Decide now, when you’re in a state or calm and regulation;
What do I want to challenge (my nemesis is being ignored), and how can I think, feel and behave differently?
Then notice what happens differently when you put this into place 💖