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What Is Your Conflict Style?

by Teresa, The CuteKid™ Staff


 

When your children misbehave or a conflict ensues how do you handle it? According to authors Susan Beekman and Jeanne Holmes of Battles, Hassles, Tantrums & Tears, there are five different styles of parent conflict resolution. Read on to see what conflict resolution style you use.

1. Director. A parent who is a director tells their children what to do. They demand that their children do what they think is the best thing to do. This parent conflict resolution style is best when your child needs a clear limit or to give an immediate result. For example if your child runs into the road you direct them to come back. The problem with always being a director is that it does not foster decision making in children because you are always telling them what to do.

2.Collaborator A collaborator works with their children. This type of parent tries to explore the disagreement and find a solution that both the parent and the child can agree on. This style is useful when you are trying to address everyone’s concerns. This conflict resolution style for child teaches how to solve problem as well as empathy for others. The only problem is that it takes time to reach a mutual decision. So this style is not effective when you are in a hurry.

3.Compromiser. This is different from the collaborator style in that the solutions are determined quickly. The parent finds a middle ground solution that doesn’t completely satisfy both parties but works for minor problems or decisions that need to be made quickly. For example my children often fight over what type of movie to rent. So I usually end up picking one that the whole family can watch but each child will not enjoy as much individually. The risk is that the root of the problem may not be addressed and the parties involved are usually not completely happy.

4.Accommodator. This type of parent puts their child’s desires first. The child asserts his or her own wishes and the parent yields. This style is best used when a parent realizes they are wrong or just desire some peace and harmony. I find that I accommodate my children more when I am stressed and need some peace. But if the parent always gives into the child the child will not learn self-discipline and ongoing problems will not be addressed.

5.Avoider. An avoider avoids conflict. The parent either withdraws from the situation, distracts attention from the problem, or postpones handling the issue until later. This style is ideal if you need time to think about the issue before addressing it. When my son snuck out of the house and went to a friend's, I avoided the conflict until my husband came home and we could talk about an appropriate punishment. You do need to be careful though because if you always avoid problems they will never be solved.

Chances are you use more than one type of style for resolving conflicts in your family. Which the authors say is the best way to do it. Different situations call for different conflict resolution styles. Just be careful that you are not using the same style for every issue.

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