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As a parent, there will be occasions when you will be in conflict with your child. Handling such situations demand your acceptance of the fact that conflicts are a big part of parenting. How you react, what stands you take, what rules you establish together considering the age and personality of your child are critical factors. There is no magic formula you can use to handle a situation, but it is not impossible to manage it well.
Your first reaction to a conflict with your child could be anger and frustration. You could also be shocked and offended that your child is standing up to you. When in conflict with your child, remember that you have also done it with your parents. It is a normal and intrinsic part of growing up. How you handle situations will determine whether you strengthen your bond with your child, or weaken it.
When your child enters the terrible twos, he becomes more assertive and is just beginning to be a rebel. Anger on your part will only harden your child’s resolve and intensify the conflict. The key to effective conflict resolution is being calm on the face of an angry or aggressive child.
Tips to Manage Conflict with your Child
1. Take the time off
Do not react immediately. Take some time to breathe deeply and relax. When your child sees you taking time to control before responding, he learns to do the same. If the conflict continues despite this, remember to stay calm.
2. Don’t take it personally
As a parent, you are likely to feel frustrated or perceive your child’s behavior as a personal attack. Most of the times, it is just a matter of your child questioning your authority. He wants to be in-charge and cannot stand it that you’re the sole in-charge. It is more of a power struggle than something personal.
3. Don’t criticize
Be careful not to criticize your child. Saying this is wrong is the correct approach to adopt, but just put it across briefly.
4. Establish rules
One of the key ideas on how to handle a conflict with your child is establishing rules. For instance, you could give a time out or enforce disciplinary action. “No chocolates for one week because you have been destructive”. This helps your child to understand that being destructive means he becomes liable to forego something he likes.
5. Voice tone
Don’t shout at your kids. You need to be assertive and clear, while talking with them. Talk with them in a peaceful manner.
6. Do not resort to violence
No matter how angry or upset you are, do not hit your child. If you get physical and violent, your child will learn to associate anger with violence. Sending your child to his room for half an hour is better than slapping him.
If you are at the receiving end of kicking, hitting and flinging things, then ask your child to stop it at once. Explain that this could hurt someone and is not done. Be gentle yet firm and communicate that hitting is not okay.
Managing conflict with your child is an ongoing process which will change as your child grows. While accepting it as a part of parenting, neither take it lightly nor personally. Teaching your child to manage conflict is an important responsibility. Some understanding, patience and love should help you sail through the situation.