3 Helpful Questions To Teach Kids Conflict Resolution Skills

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3 Ways To Teach Kids Conflict Resolution
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During quarantine, conflicts are bound to happen. Here's how to resolve them.

We are in the midst of a global pandemic that sent us into a tailspin. The current situation has created a new reality for parents worldwide, necessitating the need for new methods of conflict resolution in families

In the blink of an eye, no schools, no nannies, no familiar schedules, no outings, no manicures, no work, no conferences, no business trips, no restaurants, no income, no vacations... nothing is the same anymore!

The familiar parenting challenges parents have struggled with for decades have been replaced by unchartered territory, which has become our new reality.

This can also be your chance to teach conflict-resolution skills to your kids, so they have a semblance of normalcy to hold onto.

RELATED: Two Effective Methods Of Setting Boundaries & Resolving Conflict With Loved Ones In Close Quarters

Do you remember the way things were a mere few weeks ago, when working mothers were expected to do the impossible? You had to do your job as if you didn't have children, and take care of your kids as if you don’t have a job.

As a woman, you’ve been told that “you can have it all,” but when you have children, you begin to wonder if the present-day feminist culture has been selling you a fantasy. You find yourself struggling to succeed in your career, while also trying to be the best mom at home.

You soon discover that trying to be everything to everyone is exhausting, and when you can’t keep up, you feel guilty. It’s no wonder that when family conflict arises, you feel like it’s the last straw!

Now is your chance to be "the best mom at home." And that isn't easy.

You were catapulted into this reality with no preparation. And because your professional life is in total disarray, you aren't fully focused on the wonderful opportunities all this togetherness could — or should — offer you.

This generates tremendous stress for many reasons, the most pressing being that now you finally have enough time to be with your kids, but you aren't spending all day interacting with them calmly.

So, working mother's guilt (being out of the house too much) has transformed into corona-mothering guilt: Feeling guilty for not maximizing or enjoying being home with your kids 24/7!

Having no privacy, no familiar work schedule, nowhere to go, and nothing "important" to do is bringing out the worst in us. Contrary to what you've always believed, you're actually feeling worse.

You're confused, worried, overwhelmed, bored, desperate, and realizing some truths about your parenting. You constantly felt guilty about not spending enough time with your kids. And now that you have endless time to be together, you're not making the most of it, nor are you enjoying it enough.

Under these circumstances, dealing with conflicting needs is more difficult than usual because nobody in your family is in their comfort zone. Practicing resilience and conflict resolution could be a lifesaver!

Here are 3 helpful questions to teach kids conflict-resolution skills.

1. What is the most pressing need?

Let's say your son and daughter need the computer for Zoom at 10:00 a.m. Your son needs to be logged on at that time to join his class, so you tell your daughter she can practice with her friend at a later time.

In this scenario, her feelings should be taken into consideration by expressing the importance of her plans with her friends while stating the obvious.

She might not like to hear it, and most probably won't be gracious about it, but expecting and accepting her annoyance will go a long way in calming the waters.

RELATED: How To Raise Courageous Children: 3 Steps To Helping Kids Manage Anxiety

2. Can I teach a life lesson here?

Yes: You can explain to your daughter that although what she's doing has merit and you're very proud of her creativity and motivation, business comes before pleasure in life.

Something you have to do takes precedence over something you want to do. That means when something is time-sensitive (like her brother needing to be on to learn from his teacher with the rest of his class), it trumps plans that can be put off (her practicing with a friend).

I know you have enough on your plate and in your heart during this corona crisis, but when you utilize inevitable family conflicts to impart and emphasize an important life lesson, you can end the day (as unstructured and stressful as it might have been) with a feeling of great accomplishment.

This is parenting at its best.

3. How can I turn a negative into a positive?

No matter how much you love your children, conflicts are inevitable, especially during these challenging times. Many people often regard conflict as a negative occurence, and even feel guilty that a dispute has arisen in the first place.

But sharing conflict with a person you love makes it inherently positive. Conflicts help to clarify the different needs of each family member and are opportunities for growth.

When you explain why you want dinner to be over by a certain time and offer a menu of suggestions they can choose from (either eat when you are serving or warm up their food on their own, and clean up the kitchen when they are done), you will have demonstrated self-care and invited them to practice being considerate to the needs of others.

A win-win situation!

When you learn how to resolve disputes in a positive manner, despite the fact that you're short on time and patience during these difficult times, it builds trust. Your children will learn the valuable lesson that relationships can survive challenges and disagreements.

So, next time there’s a conflict, stop and ask yourself these three questions. You might be surprised at the solutions you will find, and you'll feel proud instead of guilty that even during such challenging times you're doing your best to steer your family down the road to success.

RELATED: This Is The #1 Mistake You Make When Arguing With Your Kids

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Atara Malach is the founder of the Parenting University, a psychotherapist, and a certified professional coach practicing internationally for over 30 years. Download free parenting tips or a free download of her book on her website.

This article was originally published at Psychology Today. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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