Tips for de-escalating conflicts at home with your child | News, Sports, Jobs

Raising children is not an easy task and there can and will be conflicts that are part of the development process – for children and parents! Knowing how to mitigate conflict or prevent it from getting out of hand is a key skill. As a school social worker, here are my top six tips:

First, reflect on yourself, your lifestyle, and your marriage/lifestyle. Do you model healthy conflict as an adult? How we behave does not escape the eyes and ears of a child. If you lead a hectic, constant lifestyle, which many of us do, make a conscious and consistent effort to slow down and pay attention to your children. If you are a single parent and participate in many outside activities, always remember to give your child adequate time and attention as the formative years require your presence. Attention will pay off later. You will have a positive and healthy influence on your child when your actions match your words.

Second, remember that you are first and foremost a parent, not a friend. You are responsible, not the child. One of the biggest mistakes parents can make is giving their child too much power and control too early in life. It’s more than acceptable to tell your child to do something instead of asking. Don’t just take the time to tell your child what to do, but also show how you plan to accomplish something. Then have them repeat your example to make sure they know your expectation(s). Children aren’t as fragile as you might think, and you won’t scare them by being in control. Within the controlled behavior of management, it is crucial to include teaching alongside your teaching.

Third, if you find yourself in an awkward dual custody situation, try not to let your child see, hear, or feel the potential negative stress from the situation. Protecting your child with mature consideration is priceless. Over the years, the child will notice your intent to provide a positive home and show you love and respect. Civilian co-parenting (when the situation permits) is a powerful gift to your child given the circumstances. The three best ingredients for parenting are love, routine, and consistency. When adults can put aside their mental/physical discomfort to put their children first, childlike behavior and mental health problems are less likely to develop.

If co-parenting isn’t an option, invest plenty of time and attention when your child is in your home. A child can adapt to different rules from one house to another and still remain firm with your rules and expectations. This established standard will eventually reduce child resistance. A parental blooper is designed to lower expectations when the child returns to your home. This can be for a variety of reasons, but a common reason is that feelings of grief stem from your child’s circumstances. “Love ’em up” when they return, remind them they’re back home while bolstering your expectations.

Fourth, you don’t have to provide everything to your child. Doing too much for them can backfire. The child quickly learns that it is the center of the universe, which over time leaves the parent in a vulnerable situation. Our authority decreases while the power a child wields increases. During this role reversal, childhood behavioral problems arise and intensify with puberty. A child can show little to no respect for a parent and still get what they want, leading to parents shaking their heads. Don’t fall into this cycle of dysfunction by making sure you have expectations at home, at school, etc. A parent who has consequences for his child is helping his child.

Fifth, if behavioral problems with your child are frequent and intense, as well as safety concerns, a mental health assessment is appropriate. If other adults, the school, or close relatives raise concerns about your child, take them seriously and listen. If counseling takes place, be sure to join your child so you can receive parental counseling. Your participation also shows your child that it is not the only problem.

Sixth, the adults in the household should share parenting responsibilities and support each other’s decisions. Another major parenting mistake is discrediting the authority of your spouse or companion in front of the child. When inconsistent parenting is in place, it opens the door for children to become manipulative and subvert authority. If children have a behavior problem, discuss it with your spouse/co-parent and develop a plan to address it together. Take the time to praise and punish your child as a team. It makes for a well-rounded kid that will make you proud.

In conclusion, the new implementation of a particular strategy in the home to improve a child’s behavior is usually short-lived. Many parents expect immediate results when behavior change takes time. Don’t give up early – keep going with perseverance. Positive parenting often requires parents or guardians to make changes to increase awareness of children, resulting in alignment with schedules, routines, and expectations. Get in the driver’s seat and take control early in life by taking the time to make sure your child is following your directions. Shared parental responsibility can help reduce parental frustration and ensure consistency—the cornerstone of healthy child development.

Positive behavior changes are likely to occur when parents approach children’s misbehavior through an “we” lens rather than a “they” lens. Our children will always experience things we wish they would not experience, which is why remaining steadfast in parental belief is crucial. Persuasion, followed by a warm, confident demeanor, better prepares children to deal with adversity that will ultimately enable growth. The influence that parents/guardians have on their child’s behavioral development is enormous.


Monte Phillips is a school social worker for Central Rivers AEA. He can be reached at [email protected].

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