During Coronavirus lockdown and in the absence of life getting back to normal for example going to school or playing club sports, many families have told me that the increase screen time and gaming at times has driven them crazy. Family squabbles and tension are never far away.
Try this step-by-step approach to working through an issue. You can use these conflict resolution principles to sort out disagreements with your children. If squabbles become aggressive maintain a zero tolerance for hitting, apply time out, to de-escalate tension, consequences and remove the device for a significant amount of time.
Step 1. Help kids see conflict as a problem they can sort out fairly with help. For example, you might say: “It looks and sounds like there’s a problem here. I’m sure if we talk about it we can sort it out.”
Step 2. Get each child to explain how they see the conflict. Get them to focus on what they want or need, and what their concerns or worries are, rather than blaming the other person. Protectively interrupt if they continue blame or raise voices. Encourage they start sentences with “I” statements and resist using the word “you”. “I feel angry when I have to stop the game”. “I feel frustrated when I ask you more than once to come off the ipad” We are both getting annoyed let’s make a plan and promise to one another.
Step 3. It’s helpful to restate each person’s concerns so everyone’s on the same page. For example, “So, you’re worried that you won’t get a turn; and you’re trying to make it to the next level of the game and you’re worried that if you stop now you won’t get to it.” Is this right?
Step 4. Get each child to suggest at least three different solutions. For example, “What are some ways to solve this so you can all feel OK about it?” If they can’t think of any, offer some ideas for them to think about.
Step 5. Help them agree on a solution that will work and put it into action.
Step 6. Praise them for sorting it out.
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