Monday, 23 July 2012

Conflict...


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How do you deal with conflict?

During the first years of marriage the Silver Fox would throw his hands up in frustration and demand I "fought like a man" His point? Say it and be done with it and move on. I can see the logic in his argument although if the news is anything to go by, some men take this motto too literally. With dire consequences. But the Silver Fox didn't grow up in my house where we were sent "to Coventry". A place of silence.

 Of silence stretching on for days.

And days...

This was how my Mum dealt with conflict. Not very effective in my opinion both then and now. It always seemed to me that she suffered more than me. And I think now what a waste of precious time it was.

Miss T had an issue with her friend. Conflict had arisen and despite best efforts silence was ensuing and others were getting involved. Not on. Look, I have no problem with conflict. It will arise. It is normal. But. It is between the two parties involved. Not Facebook or Tumblr or the grapevine. I demand respect and am happy to guide my teenager and her friend to resolution in a supportive environment. Is that not the least we can do to teach our children? Well, this is my philosophy anyway. I text the other Mummy that we needed to get this sorted. She agreed. One thing I can say about Miss T's friends is that they have wonderful parents. I am lucky. It is not always this way I know. The Mummy and I arranged a meeting time and place with the girls. Miss T was scared but I asked her to trust me and that I was proud of her for trying to resolve this but that it was getting messy and they both needed assistance. I set the rules and asked the other Mum and daughter if they agreed. "I" statements were to be used focusing on the behaviour, not the person or "you said this" type of conversation. Some guidance was needed with reminders to focus on feeling but the conversation flowed over afternoon tea. I am proud of both the girls for being brave and respectful. Is it sorted? Not sure but now there is a greater understanding of feelings and the impact on friendships.

The computer had a big part to play in the continuation of this conflict. It is a different world today with different rules. I am also ever mindful of this and that cyber bullying is on the increase. There are things that can reduce this. Miss T does not have her computer or phone in her bedroom. At all. Or a TV for that matter. I am settled with the knowledge that at 2 am all she is doing is sleeping. For now at least.

I was lucky the other Mummy was so supportive, although I was ever mindful to address the behaviours and facilitate the conversation, not choose sides.  When Miss T was 5 she came home from a very good friend's home saying she had a secret. Hmmm. I managed to get out of her that she and my friend's 8 year old were going to run away. That no one understood them and that this would "show them all". Double Hmmmm!! I rang my friend (bridesmaid at my wedding type of friend) to let her know and that she might want to have a chat with her daughter as I had with mine. She ate me alive! Lost her mind, told me it had come from my child as her child would never talk like that. Ouch! Guess whose daughter ran away?

Think about how you deal with conflict. Not an easy topic, especially if you yourself have had bad experiences. Think about it. Do share

 Ciao for now...


 
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11 comments:

  1. You modeled such healthy adult behavior to your daughter and her friends. They may even be able to handle their future conflicts on their own now.
    Great job.

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    1. Glenda you always show such support!! thank you. I hold you in high esteem to have not only survived teenagers but to have enjoyed the journey. I always remember this and even when Miss T is being pouty and beastly, I do love her so and admire her energy.

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  2. I think I might just print this post out and keep it somewhere safe for when, not if, I need it.

    Thanks Martha - awesome work!

    M
    x

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    1. Thanks M. It is a bit hair raising at times let me tell you but so far so good!!

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  3. Wow!!! YOU are so super brave and wise and smart. And I dips me lid! This is THE most impressive piece of parenting I have heard about in ages. So lucky that the other parent was wise too. For a person that manages conflict really well professionally - I avoid personal conflict whenever I can - HATE it. Martha you are amazing!!!!

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    1. Why thank you divine Miss P. my knees were knocking let me tell you! But, my Miss T was getting disguising hate mail anonymously and this girl sent one so I addressed that too. I did tell her she needed to discuss the content with her mother and if she didn't I would show her mum the mail.

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  4. Conflict is something I help the college kids I work with every single day. Usually the situation comes down to lack of communication and/or unspoken expectations. I don't always have the perfect answer but I'm happy to help them navigate those little life problems.

    Good for you helping Miss T. She probably doesn't realize what a great lesson she learned but she will some day.

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    1. Thanks for the great comments Kara. Dealing with all those teenagers you must have fantastic skills of negotiation!! I do admire what you do. We have had 35 days of sunshine this year and the rest rain so maybe we can do a bit of a trade?

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  5. Your so so wise Martha. As a mum to 2 teenage girls I fully understand the anguish you must have experienced. Its hard to be calm when your kids are hurting, well done, you are a great example of how a mum should be!!!

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  6. You seem to have handled that situation really well. I think having the support of the other mother makes a huge difference. My teenage daughter recently had a falling out with a friend. I had never felt comfortable with the friendship. Something about the girl and her family set off warning bells and well meaning friends had been cautioning me for a while to take care. When the fall out happened I encouraged my daughter to remain polite and not let it turn nasty but I didn't do anything to actively help them resolve. The friendship fizzled away and now my daughter has made friends with girls that she can depend on more. I think as mothers we learn from things one experience at a time. Reading each others experiences is a really good way of helping us deal with future issues. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Thanks so much for joining in with the POTMC, Martha. I think you handled the situation fabulously. Bravo. Not all mums would have handled it like you did. J x

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