THE BENEFITS OF HEALTHY CONFLICTS
As a parent, you may wonder about the impacts of having conflicts in front of your kids. As human beings, it is perfectly normal that we sometimes disagree. So, it is indeed positive for children to witness their parents’ disagreements if they are done in a respectful way. The healthy model shows how parents can handle conflicts without yelling, work things through to a solution and make up affectionately.
Here are a few strategies to help you manage conflicts between parents in a constructive way:
1. When one parent gets triggered by his/her partner, it is then time to hit the pause button. This means “Stop, Drop, and Breathe”. It gives you a chance to notice you are moving into fight, flight, or freeze and that your partner starts looking like the enemy. Then, remember you can handle the situation in a calmer way once your irritation, frustration, or disappointment has stopped or decreased.
2. Handling the strong emotions. If one of you is still under a strong emotion, you need to work it through before discussing the issue at stake. If you feel angry, chances are there are underlying emotions such as sadness. Then, ask yourself questions. Are you feeling sad for being taken for granted? Hurt that you are not feeling listened to? Focus on yourself and notice these emotions as sensations in your body. Once you acknowledge your emotions, they will start to melt away.
3. Start to discuss the issue once both partners are emotionally available.
If you model these types of interactions in front of your kids, they will learn healthy ways to handle conflicts respectfully. This way of managing disagreements will bring you closer to your partner and makes your relationship stronger. It models the conflict resolution that teaches your kids essential lessons.
As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.