In Part 1, we discussed how parental differences are normal and that kids learn about communication from witnessing their arguments—and that learning takes place from NOT hearing any arguments as well.
Teaching moments are missed when children witness unproductive and angry (abusive or scary) parental exchanges during arguments. The loss also holds for those who never experience parental disagreement and conclude that disagreements are bad and to be avoided at all costs.
Both sets of parents miss the chance to:
- Teach that differences are normal.
- Provide a healthy model of conflict resolution.
- Promote the understanding that expressing differences leads to a successful healthy relationship.
- Demonstrate that compromise, negotiation, collaboration, and cooperation are valuable skills and can be achieved.
A valuable life lesson for children is to witness reasonably expressed disagreement and successful conflict resolution between their parents. Be their role model. If you lack the skills to model conflict resolution get professional help. Your children need to learn the skill—if they do not observe a healthy example from you as parents.
Intimate topics must be avoided, of course, but sit down together as parents and decide what is acceptable for them to experience. As far as the “united front” notion, parents do not need to agree all issues, only discuss and reach solution together. Kids benefit from observing people disagree and still work together on a common goal. No one has to be declared ‘wrong’. This is not a ‘win-lose’ situation.
Help is available to build conflict resolution skills through self help books and classes as well as professional family counseling and coaching. Work to provide a healthy conflict resolution model for your children.
What do you think? Check back for more.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Dr. Coach Love
PS–I invite your push back of experiences and comments. Tell me what’s on your mind.
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© Copyright 2012 P.H. Pickett, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.
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