If you're like most parents, your kids fight. Find out the 6 steps you can take that will help your kids and you. Our parenting expert and blogger, Ellen Galinsky, wrote Mind in the Making. She will tell us the 6 steps she took to overcome car fights.
Parenting Advice from Ellen's Perspective:
I used to drive my children back and forth from school when they were little, and they often fought in the backseat of the car, making the drive anything but pleasant. When I saw that part of my responsibility was to teach my children to be with others, my view of my role as a parent was transformed.
First, I began to accept that sibling rivalry was a fact of life. I used to want it to disappear, so I reacted to it that way. "Stop fighting!" I would say again and again, to little avail.
Instead, I shifted my own perspective and began to see their fights as opportunities to help them learn to deal with conflict, rather than as a burden to me. I began to realize how few of us ever learn to deal with conflict directly. So I called a family meeting.
Ellen's Family Meeting:
My daughter was about four and my son was nine. I said, "The fighting in the car when I am taking you to school makes it hard for me to drive safely. I'm not interested in who started the fights and I'm not interested in whose fault it is. I am only interested in who has a good idea for stopping the fights. I am going to write down all of your ideas so that we can try out some of them."
It took a while for my kids to get over trying to blame each other, but the piece of paper for writing down good ideas did wonders. I also used what I now think of as a:
Problem - or Dilemma - Resolving Technique:
1. Identify the dilemma, problem, or issue.
2. Determine the goal.
3. Come up with alternative solutions might work. After writing down each idea, go back and ask them what would work and what wouldn't work about each idea. This helps them learn to evaluate the pros and cons of solutions.
5. Select a solution to try. After trying the solution out for a while, have another family meeting to discuss what's working and what isn't working about this solution.
6. Evaluate the outcome, and if the solution isn't working, try something else. When things start to fall apart, as they inevitably do, try to figure out why, repeat the process, and come up with another solution to try.
What Ellen Really Taught Her Children:
As you can see, I was teaching my children perspective taking along with problem solving. When evaluating each solution on the list, they had to think about it from their own and from the others perspectives. pages 89-91
Let's thank Ellen Galinsky for her 6 steps on problem solving by teaching her kids the others perspective. The family meeting was the perfect place.
Her book Mind In The Making - The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs is available at Amazon.com
Jean Tracy, MSS
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