Conflict with our kids

Lets get past the belief that we are right if we become emotional when in conflict with children

As one of my friends will insist I clarify I am not saying emotion is wrong and I am not talking about the positive emotions we get in our relationships with our children. I am thinking of those times when we feel quite negative and under stress from those lovely little devils……………………….

have the emotion and express it when appropriate and to someone appropriate – just control your reaction at a time when you are in conflict with your kids

If you are emotional in the pursuit of dealing with children your ability to deal in a proportionate way is compromised by your need not to feel outdone. Remember who the grown up is meant to be.

Through the work I do I quite consistently end up in conversations of parenting. In our society we as parents have a tendency to control our children’s lives and actions with a “do as I say” mentality. There is a large inherent flaw with this kind of thinking, we are developing our children do not be able to make their own decisions. Making decisions is in itself a reasonably advanced skill, you find it difficult enough with years of being an adult. If we continuously teach children to do what they’re told rather than to learn how to make decisions good and bad we are stifling independent thinking.

A child spends most of their formative years hearing the word no, being chastised the things that they are doing, being shouted at to not do those things. If we only tell our children no and stop we are not educating them in the process of making decisions.

A very large percentage of parents that I have spoken to through my work are under the impression that it’s important for them to win and for the child to do what they are told so that the child can learn. This in itself misses the opportunities each of these interactions create for a parent to develop their relationship with their child. For it is through these moments of conflict that the relationship consolidates. Many parents are hellbent on winning and being right, they believe apologising shows weakness and the child is always wrong.

But the child never wins and never feels that they have won. Some parents would seem to prefer they would rather the child becomes a passive member of the pack doing what they are told and not making decisions for themselves. The child can grow into this role of letting other people make decisions for them.

The child’s relationship with the parent forms in those moments. I should say that again as it is sooo important. What will be the stories they tell their friends when they grow up? When your child grows up and their friends come round to your house should their friends be looking at you thinking about how mean and hard you were to their friend?

For me my relationship with my children is more important than me winning. There are many occasions where I have seen other parents roll their eyes at my behaviour, muttering under their breath that I should be harder, I am giving in or letting the child get away with it or reinforcing bad behaviour. Yet it is in these moments that my relationship with my child and the education I give my child about conflict management is formed.

I see many parents unable to deal with their difficult teenagers. It annoys me how society seems to think the teens must have a problem as they cannot conform to what the parents want. There is at least one culture on the planet that does not recognise the concept of teenager, they do not see it as a difficult time. Young people assume adulthood when they can reproduce and receive the responsibilities commensurate with that position.

My children are currently 15 and 10. Judge the results my wife and I produce in the longer term.