We have issues with fighting in our family. My two kids fight over every toy and every device in the house, and to be honest my husband and I fight over a lot of small things, too. Even making simple decisions we usually disagree. Do you have any advice in those moments of conflict? How can we settle these issues and stop the fighting?
Here are some creative ways to handle these conflicts.
In basketball, what happens when two players start fighting over a ball they both have their hands on? The referee will usually call a jump ball.
Different leagues have different policies on how to handle a jump ball. Some have the ref toss the ball between the two players, who both try to jump up and tip it. This approach basically lets luck decide it. Other leagues use a taking turns approach. The first jump ball goes to one team, but the next jump ball will automatically go to the other, and so on.
I recommend this same approach to couples and children when they fight over small things — but you must decide ahead of time, together, what your jump ball policy will be. You can take turns getting your way or you can let luck decide it.
If you agree to let luck decide these conflicts, you might agree to flip a coin and whoever loses must accept the coin's decision and honor it. If you take turns, then whoever lost last time gets to win this time. My grandparents used to play a game of cards and the winner would get their choice.
As long as you agree ahead of time what constitutes a jump ball situation, what your approach will be, and you both promise to honor it, these techniques work great for petty disagreements.
Big ticket purchases or more serious disagreements should be handled together, as a team, with a mutually validating conversation.
Children and adults both benefit from learning how to resolve conflicts and communicate in a respectful way. Below are some ideas that might help improve everyone's conflict resolution skills:
If you have issues with losing your temper or getting defensive, you may want to get some professional help. A coach or counselor can help you understand and deal with your feelings and respond more appropriately.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of ldslifecoaching.com and claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.