Top Tips for Resolving Conflicts in Your Relationships

No matter how much you like the other person, at some point, conflict is likely to happen. While most conflicts are fairly small (like trying to decide where to go out for dinner), left untended a conflict can fester and grow. That’s why it’s so important to resolve conflicts in your relationships before they have a chance to take on a life of their own.

How do you go about doing that?

1. Start by listening. But don’t just listen to the spoken words, but the feelings behind them. It’s the emotions that drive the conversation after all! By listening actively, meaning pausing to ask questions, clarify, and to reiterate what you think the other person is saying, you tell the other person that what they have to say matters. But more importantly, you’re letting them know that they’re being heard.

2. Look for the resolution over being right. Giving up the notion that you have to ‘win’ is where you start seeing the solutions. Conflict is not a competition.

3. Stay in the moment. Instead of focusing on what happened that brought you into this conflict, pay attention to what’s going on right now. Now isn’t the time for blame. Rather look for solutions.

4. Decide what’s important right now. That is called ‘picking your battles’ and is important in determining whether a thing is worth fighting over. Ask yourself if this is just an issue over a minor annoyance that will be easily forgotten, or if you have something deeper going on that maybe needs to be addressed.

5. Know how and when to disengage. That means being able to do what it takes to walk away. It might be forgiveness is in order. It might be that you’re just going to need to agree to disagree. Worst case scenario? It might be time just to let the matter go entirely. Whatever the case, there’s nothing to be gained by staying in the conflict. 

Resolving conflicts isn’t a hard skill to learn. By following these tips, you will discover how better to deal with conflict in every kind of relationship – whether business or personal. So take heart – a misunderstanding doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. Instead look at your conflict as a step toward better understanding that will, in turn, lead to better relationships in the long run.

Let Ron Huxley help you resolve conflict in your life by scheduling a session today or take a free course at FamilyHealer.tv

7 Steps in Co-Parenting Negotiation

Co-parenting is a post-divorce parenting arrangement in which both parents agree to participate in their children’s upbringing. The keyword here is “agreement” about what is in the child’s best interest where there are significant hurts, personalities, and values between those parents. Raising children requires a lot, and I mean a lot, of interactions despite getting divorced. 

Because of this challenge, many parents end up parallel parenting vs. co-parenting. Co-parenting is short for cooperative parenting. Sadly, this is often not the case. Parallel parents are both working to raise their children, but they agree that they don’t agree on much. Each home will have its own set of routines, entertainment values, discipline practices, and cultural influences. This agreement to a no agreement lifestyle is a disagreeable way to parent, but parents and children often have no control over it.

Learning how to negotiate becomes an important skill when this is the case. Here are seven steps to better negotiation in co-parenting relationships: 

  1. Name the problem using an “I” statement as in “I feel…when you…and I would like to discuss how…” This format reduces defensiveness and retains a sense of power for the speaker. 
  2. Use reflective listening to convey what is understood. A divorce may involve the decision not to share the intimate connection, but it still requires understanding and validation to maintain mutual respect. Say: “So, what you are saying or asking for is…” 
  3. Brainstorm for solutions that will work for all parties. It may involve creative thinking about alternative solutions. There may be compromise from the original need. 
  4. Choose a solution to try, even if it is not your solution or your first choice.
  5. Review who does what by putting it into writing or communicating before, during, and after the solution. 
  6. Put the solution into action and try it out to see how it works. Stay objective and open-minded. If it doesn’t work, negotiate a new solution. 
  7. Re-evaluate what is working overall, and be honest about what didn’t work and what needs to be changed. Keep the perspective that the other person is not the problem. The problem is the problem. 

To complete these seven steps, parents will have to be self-aware and motivated to keep the children’s needs first. This is hard work and may involve humility that wasn’t present in the relationship before the divorce. Just because people were “terrible” partners in marriage doesn’t mean they cannot grow and be great co-parents after marriage. 

Let Ron Huxley help you negotiate through your difficult situations. Schedule a session today! 

Rebuilding Relationships with Reconciliation Questions

Reconciliation is a frequently misunderstood term, and its process for healing relationships is even more mysterious. Its knowledge and application are vital to our inner and outer worlds.

The word describes making one belief compatible with another. Although used in the financial world to see bank accounts balance, businesses thrive, humans need reconciliation to ensure that relationships stay connected through struggles and tragedies. Commonly, friendships get betrayed, marriages dissolve, a parent power struggles with children, or families hurt one another.

Conciliation means to “bring together, unite, or make friends.” Reconciliation is needed when this bond breaks. Of course, this process is not easy but worth the journey.

Let Ron Huxley guide you through the challenges of reconciliation with your partner, family member, and friendships by scheduling an appointment. Click here!

Let’s take action. Try this Preventing Resentment Question:

Take time to sit down every week to ask the following question. Is there any unconfessed sin, unresolved hurt, or conflict from the last week that we need to seek reconciliation?

Work through conflicts by asking a Rebuilding Relationship Question:

What am I/you feeling? What do I/you need? How can I/we collaborate so I/we healthily meet that need?

When needing to ask forgiveness for past wrongs, try this Reconciliation Requesting Question:

1) Offer a genuine apology.

2) Verbalize what you can take responsibility for.

3) Share how hurting someone you care about feels to you.

4) Ask your partner what they need from you to heal and move forward.

6 Tips for Better Relationships Today!

There are some things we can do in all our relationships to build and maintain strong bonds. This is true because underneath all our differences, likes, dislikes, and biases, we are all human beings who desire social connections. The tips below should be used in all your relationships to form bonds that will stand the test of time.

  1. Be appreciative

This might mean different things in different relationships, but the overarching sentiment is the same. When they do something kind for you or take the time to support you when you need it, be appreciative – acknowledge their care and concern.

2. Spend time together

It can be hard to find time to get together when we are all so busy, but it’s important for all relationships. If necessary, set up a standing appointment so that it just automatically happens. This makes sure it happens because you will get used to scheduling other things around it. 

3. Communicate honestly

Sometimes you may be tempted to bend the truth to avoid conflict, but your relationships will be much healthier overall if honesty is held in high regard. It’s possible, to be honest without being brutal. Choose your words carefully and be as diplomatic as possible, while still sharing your feelings openly and honestly.

4. Forgive faults

Forgive them for their eccentricities and annoying habits, and also forgive yourself for any mistakes you make. We all have faults and shortcomings that we bring with us into any relationship. Sometimes to keep the relationship strong, we need to just come to the conclusion that their presence in our lives is more important than the little habits that drive us crazy.

5. Support them

Intermingled between all the good times, there will surely be times when the other person could use a helping hand. Whether it’s helping them move, taking them dinner when a loved one has passed or being a sounding board for a difficult decision, any relationship worth having requires some TLC. And the other person deserves it, just as you do when you need it from them.

6. Do unto others

It’s just a good idea to always live by the Golden Rule, but it’s especially true in relationships that are important to us. If you wonder if something you might do is likely to upset them, chances are it’s better to talk to them about it first. Wouldn’t you want them to do the same for you? It’s better to err on the side of caution.

Get deeper relational repair with Ron Huxley. Schedule an online appointment today: Click here now!

Conflictual coparenting is under an illusion

conflictual divorce and coparenting

Conflictual coparenting acts like it is a form of competition but that is an illusion. High levels of conflict has no winners, only losers! Parents fight to one up each other or get revenge for past hurts and this includes the children.

Most mediators, myself included, want parents to put the “best interests of the child” first but this is difficult for parents to do when consumed by anger and resentments. The costs are high, and not just financially with on-going court costs. The emotional costs are high for everyone. Research is clear that children who go through long-term, conflictual divorce, are negatively impacted. There is the risk that children will have severe mental health issues into adulthood.

The legal definition of the “best interests of the child” is about who the child belongs to…the psychological definition of the “best interests of the child” is who belongs to the child. There is a big difference between these two definitions but they don’t have to be mutually exclusive of each other. Setting boundaries, using strength-based language, and keeping the needs of the child paramount will help a true cooperative parenting process.

The best way for parents to reduce conflict is to learn to manage themselves. Keeping the focus on personal healing and not on how the other parent should act or be. Managing ourselves is the only guarantee that we can have of making the coparenting relationship healthy.

Get more support and help with your coparenting conflict with a session with Ron Huxley today.

Co-Parenting Isn’t Working? Try Parallel Parenting.

parallel-parenting-500-x-250

Many divorced parents are frustrated about their co-parenting arrangements. No matter what they try to do to work things with their ex, all of their efforts end up in conflict. Co-parenting feels more like game where there are no winners.

In these situations, the best advice is “no contact is no conflict”. If it wasn’t for the shared children they would have no contact and then there would be no problem but since that isn’t the case how do you co-parent with no contact? The answer is Parallel Parenting!

The situation reminds me of small children who are learning to share. Before they develop the skills to play cooperatively, they engage in parallel play. Both types of play look alike but when you watch more closely you realize that they are in the same room, with similar toys, playing next to one another but they are not really playing together. They are quite disengaged. Eventually, development will help create the skills needed for cooperative play. In the case of high-conflict divorce, parents may have to let go of the more mature cooperative parenting and shift to parallel parenting.

Parallel parenting purposefully disengages from the conflictual partner and concentrates on connection with the child. It may involve one parent focusing on dealing with the child’s school and the other on their soccer games. While both parents need to agree on major decisions, they will differ on daily logistics about bedtime routines, acceptable television watching, choice of baby sisters, and church attendance. When the daily heat can be turned down between parents, it makes the bigger decisions easier to navigate.

Parallel parenting protects the children. Research clearly demonstrates that high-conflict divorce results in higher rates of behavioral disturbances and mental illness later in life. More commonly, when a child tries to have a positive relationship with both parents who do not have a positive relationship with each other, they experience a “loyalty bind.” When the child is with parent A, he misses parent B. The child might even feel that he is being disloyal to parent B when he is with parent A and vice versa. This is easily intensified by parents who talk negatively about the other parent in front of the child. It can also occur when one parent acts like a victim causing the child to worry about them. Another way is leaning on your child for moral support and treating the child like the co-parent instead of a child.

It is a delicate balance to parallel parent and break down loyalty binds. A parents natural inclination is to protect their child and if they believe the other parent is harmful then…

The truth is that both parents are important to the child. To really protect them and find some sanity in the relationship, try using alternative methods to communication than face-to-face, like email or a notebook. Keep the wording factual about the child’s health, sleeping patterns, school events, weekend schedules, medical care, etc. Request separate school notices or records. Avoid showing up at the same events without prior knowledge. When you do end up at the same event, make a huge effort to demonstrate working together. You might actually find you can do it all the time!

Newsletterimage

Join our newsletter and never miss a blog post! Click here.