As a parent, it can be difficult to be a referee to your children. Whenever an argument breaks out, it can be hard to discern who is at fault. While you may have an idea who may be the instigator, identifying that child as the one who started it, whether you know for sure or not, is not the best way to handle it. It’s better to use these situations as lessons in how to deal with similar ones later in life.
Teaching Children about Healthy Relationships
Healthy relationships are not without arguments. Actually, arguments are a sign of a good relationship. It means one person isn’t controlling the other one. There’s give and take, and sometimes to achieve that, arguments occur.
Its how the arguments are handled that matters in a relationship. This is why it’s important to teach your children how to deal with issues.
What to Do When an Argument Starts
Follow these tips to help your children understand how to handle disagreements with others.
Encourage them to separate – When emotions are high, the last thing two people want to do is separate. It’s the best thing they can do, though. You do not have to pull them apart. Simply tell each one to go a different direction. They do not have to leave the room. They just need to get away from each other to disengage.
Bring Up the Main Issue – Once they have been able to separate and calm down, ask them what the main issue was before the argument started. You may hear two different issues, but that is okay. Take one issue at a time to come to a conclusion.
Identify What Each Person Wants – When discussing the issue, ask what one child wants and what the other one wants. This calmly explains why they are not getting along. To them, it seems as though they can’t come to a resolution.
Teach Them How to Compromise – With the issue exposed along with knowing what each child wants, you can start to help them compromise. Posing questions such as:
- If you are able to get what you want, what will you give him/her?
- You can’t do that, so what else do you want?
- How can you both get a little of what you want in this situation?
- How can you both get what you want?
The answers to these questions can help each child figure out how to resolve the issue. Sometimes, children can be stubborn and not want to compromise. This is when it’s time to teach them about being considerate and respectful of others.
Pose Alternatives When Compromising Doesn’t Work
When children do not want to compromise, the issue may have to be eliminated. For example, if two children can’t decide who will go first when playing a game, maybe they do not need to play it. Chances are, if they really want to play the game, they will be more willing to compromise then. If not, they can move on and do something else together or alone.
How These Skills Are Used in the Future
When children can learn how to effectively handle disagreements, they will be able to do it in adulthood. They will be able to approach situations as problems to be solved. When one person doesn’t want to compromise, it doesn’t mean one person gives in; it means the situation cannot be addressed with them and needs to be taken care by someone else or the project cannot be done.
Try it with your children to see how it works with them. You may just find their relationship will be much better.
Tyler Jacobson is a freelance writer, with past experience in content writing and outreach for parent and teen advocate organizations. His areas of focus include: parenting, education, social media, addiction, and issues facing teenagers today. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn