Here are some conflict resolution tips that parents can use:
• Stay in the moment. Don't let past conflicts creep into the conversation. Focus only on the issue at hand.
• Acknowledge your child's feelings. They don't have the wisdom and experience we do - they're still learning to navigate the world, which can be very stressful. Use statements like, "I've noticed you haven't been doing your homework, and your grades are suffering. What's causing the problem? What's bothering you?" or, "It seems like your chores aren't getting done. What's interfering?" Ask open-ended questions, not those that require a yes or no answer.
• Avoid negating your child's perspective. Only speak about your own feelings. "I get concerned when I see your grades slipping, and I'm worried about you," or, "I get angry when the chores don't get done, since we're all busy and have to pitch in."
• Be solution oriented. "I've noticed that your chores aren't getting done. What can we do to fix the problem? How can I help?"
• Give your child choices so they feel like they have some control. Growing up is all about learning to navigate the world and make good choices. They won't learn how to do that if we're constantly making choices for them. "It sounds like you're having trouble balancing your activities and your homework. Would it be easier for you to set aside time for your homework right after school, or right after dinner?" Let them come up with their own solutions, too - they'll be more likely to stick to them if it was their idea.
• Postpone the conversation if things get heated. "We're both getting upset now, and I don't want to argue. Let's talk about this again in an hour, when we've both calmed down."