Each parent-child conflict gives us an opportunity to either teach our children, or to try to control our children. When we use discipline parenting strategies we are approaching the conflict as a teachable moment; an opportunity for our children to learn important life skills. When our children learn how to resolve conflicts, the joyful result will be a more harmonious family.
Let’s examine the problem of siblings fighting. You can think about this conflict in one of two ways. The controlling viewpoint is “How am I going to stop their fighting right now? I could try yelling, threatening, or offering them a bribe to get them to stop.” The discipline approach is to think “How am I going to teach my kids how to get along so I don’t have to be the one to control them?”
The discipline viewpoint involves teaching problem solving skills to your children so they can handle the conflict better the next time. When they learn a more mature approach, they can practice resolving the issue with greater harmony. This discipline approach can feel daunting because it takes time, knowledge and forethought. Rest assured that the time you put into teaching problem solving will be less than the time spent constantly repeating attempts at controlling your kids.
What is your typical response to your kids fighting?
©2014 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children of all ages. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking and private parenting coaching sessions. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and writes the Middle School Mom column for the Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. She works with parents of 4 – 25 year-old children. Contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com, cynthia@bridges2understanding,com, or 650. 679.8138 to learn more about creating the relationship you want with your children.