First of all, we have to understand that conflict is not bad. Conflict happens, when, what you believe is different from what I believe, and as humans, it’s so real. We are hardwired for a life full of conflicts; having conflicts is natural, whereas, not having one should definitely be raising an alarm. I can only have a conflict with someone, if there exists some difference of opinion. Now, how to know, who has got the right answer, is the actual problem. Before getting on to settling conflicts, we must understand what exactly settlement means in this transaction. Settling conflict typically means the other party agrees to what I believe or vice-versa. Now, if settling only means ‘my way’, then it may not ‘make good’ all the time, because I can’t be right, all the time. And, most important, who will decide, if it’s settled for right or not. This becomes really tricky, when the exposure difference between the 2 parties is not much; not age, but exposure; and when it results in everyone’s good, I personally call it, resolution of a conflict.
You can have no conflicts or minimum conflicts when both have the same understanding about life, which is very rare. Like, when you try to teach your kids to be hardworking and disciplined, they are into different zones and sometimes, the zone comes with age, which anyway we can’t wait for to make a present choice for them.
Children are so very susceptible to peer pressure; and things get gloomy, if the situation doesn’t move their way. A parent has to be rational, if not always, at least most times. It’s a war between 2 independent minds; Parents must understand, to win, they have to position themselves really well. People may argue that there can’t be ‘one solution fits all’ because every child is different; I agree, there can be hundred different ways to settle conflicts with your children but let me try and sum up the whole tedious thigh with whatever exposure I have out of dealing with thousands of children.
We may decipher the whole strategy (LIRO) into 4 parts :
- Listen: We all know how difficult it is to listen to someone patiently. Mostly, we are very good at putting our point but rarely listens to what others have to say. Early stage conflicts get resolved the moment you lend your ear to the child. Your child wants to say something and mostly, that’s all he wants from you; but we don’t find time or consider it irrelevant to even listen to the child. It’s only when he feels neglected and not heard, the conflict moves on to the next level. Out of all arts, art of listing holds a special place in life’s journey; it always mitigates the risk of acting stupid before knowing or assessing the situation.
- Identify: After you have heard the whole thing with compassion and unwavering attention, identify the points of actual disagreement. Possibly, the difference of opinion may not be that big, that it can’t be sorted in one or two conversations. We all must have experienced that half of the problem gets solved, the moment we take cognizance of it; which means, knowing the absence of ease is also important. I remember, what Mark Twain said, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” So, not necessarily, what looks difficult, is actually difficult doing.
- Reason: The best way to convince someone is to reason with him and give him a big one, to come to your side. I have found no better and sustainable way to persuade a child, other than giving him reason to do so. Complications come when parents themselves do not have a reason around their desire and then it becomes really tough to ride the horse. Most times, the human brain easily switches track between the desired and the logical, the moment it understands the implications.
- Offer: When everything else doesn’t work, what never fails is an offer that one can’t refuse. When a child gets hysterical about something and you as a parent at no cost can offer your affirmation, to what he is seeking permission for; give your child the nearest alternative or may be a better one. I know, this is a little tricky to figure out what’s a good offer or if it’s even right to get into this practice of giving alternative offers but I am sure, when nothing else works in a conflict, a good offer always does.
I believe serendipity doesn’t always happen ; most times, it’s our approach of flouting the conventional way that shows up the light. How a wrong choice can jeopardize a child’s career is no hidden narrative in such an informed world; we have to be really watchful for all our ways of handling life or life’s conflicts. A child is the most priceless possession of any parent and nothing of his life should be compromised just because a conflict arose and was not handled well. Like ‘every night has its day’; every conflict has a solution. Keep looking for it, until you find one.
About the Author: Priya Sangwan
Priya has 15+ yrs of experience in the educational sector. She currently works as the Principal of Sri Rama Bharti Public School, Delhi NCR. She also functions as an academic consultant to 20+ schools. She has spearheaded several deliberations and educational workshops in 150+ schools. Priya has been actively involved in public speaking about her area of expertise — education. She shares her candid thoughts on critical issues via her YouTube channel “the unfiltered educationist”.
Priya was recently awarded:
-“India’s most impactful school leader in 2020” by Indian Principals Network (IPN)
-“40 under 40 Indian achievers 2020” by The Indian Achiever’s Club
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