Regardless of how well we get along with others, the time will come when we disagree. It is just a simple fact of life. The question becomes: the example we set. Fighting starts very young, unless you are an only child.
Early on in life, we decide we do not want to share. We also have a habit of wanting to take away what others have. As our vocabulary skills improve, we may decide to say unkind words or others may share their less than loving thoughts. Occasionally accidents happen and we don't always show the patience that would be normal for that particular situation.
Disappointment isn't high on our "oh, that is okay" mind-set either. We tend to act it out before the words form. And, those moments are just the beginning of our learning curve of disagreements.
As we get older, it gets even more complicated~ Do you remember when we first started dating? Okay, it was awhile ago but most of us can go back in our memories. At first, everything was all sweety-sweety. As we got to know that special person in our lives, we realized that perfection was not a word we would use to describe them. At first, their habits were all cute. Shortly thereafter, those same habits were not only not cute anymore, they were downright annoying! Hence, our first relationship fights began. So, where and when do we learn how to fight? And, who needs to teach children that lesson? Of course the answer is: Parents The actual act of disagreeing is probably healthy for your children.
Think about it this way. children learn from the examples that the adults in their lives set. If the children only ever see the positive aspect, how will they learn to appropriately deal with conflicts? Conflicts in life are a given. What we do with conflict is a choice. When a disagreement is arising, make a mental decision to fight fairly.
Show your children that there are peaceful and loving ways to resolve differences of opinions. Listen to what the other person is saying, repeat back what you heard, maintain a calm voice, never use foul language or call each other names and ALWAYS stay respectful. At the end of the quarrel, if both parties stayed courteous, compromised, and found a peaceful resolution, the children just learned an extremely valuable lesson. We want our children to sometimes shake things off. At other times we want them to take up a cause.
Yet we also want them to be willing to compromise. But, the main thing we want is for the children to distinguish which situation requires which action. The only way young minds can sort through the rubble and be able to quickly determine a path is to have been a witness to or a party of conflict. Of all of the lessons we are charged with, conflict resolution skills is of top priority. While our children are young, we have their hearts, minds and attention primarily focused on us. We are their primary source of role modeling.
Whatever you do, do not go behind those closed doors to fight it out (unless you are going to set a negative example). Show the children how to fight fairly. That lesson will follow them for the rest of their lives.
Chris Lowrey Author/Editor of Family Time Charm A truly unique family magazine. Family Time Charm is designed for the entire family. For more parenting articles, fun games for kids and educational activities for all, visit: http://www.familytimecharm.com