Stop the Intensity in Conflict
Sometimes a child’s stubbornness or defiance is obvious. In those moments, stop dealing with the issue at hand and talk about the process of how you’re relating. “I can tell you’re upset and it’s not good for us to continue until you settle down. I’d like you to take a break and come back when you’re ready to continue talking about this.” Have the child sit in the hall or on the top step or some other boring place. After the child has settled down, then he or she needs to come back to you and talk about the problem.
If your child comes back without having a heart change, then send the child back again. One dad told the story of seven-year-old Sarah who was yelling at her brother. “I called her upstairs to talk to me about it and she began yelling at me. I told her that was inappropriate and to take a break for a bit and settle down. About a minute later she came back but was obviously not changed. Her head was tilted down, her posture was slumping and her bottom lip was sticking out. I didn’t even have to talk with her. I just told her what I saw, “Sarah, I can tell you’re not ready yet. The way you’re standing and the expression on your face all tell me that you still have a problem in your heart. I want you to go back until you’re ready to come out with a changed heart.
“This time she stayed away for about 20 minutes and when she returned she was obviously different. In fact, I took her head in my hands and looked deep into her eyes and said, ‘I can see your heart in there. It looks pretty nice right now. It looks like you’re ready to talk about this.’ Sarah giggled and then we continued to talk about the problem. I explained to her that she could not yell at her dad. That is disrespectful even if she is angry. We also talked about the right responses she could have if she was angry with her brother.”
By enforcing a break, this dad helped Sarah change her heart. Don’t allow conflict to escalate into a battle. Stop the intensity with a break. It will not only help you stay calm but it will help your children develop some maturity about dealing with conflict.
National Center for Biblical Parenting
This Parenting Tip comes from the book, Home Improvement by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.