Whether it be a simple disagreement about what your child can eat for dinner or a near relationship ending blow-up about how to discipline your kids, conflict is inevitable when it comes to parenting.
There's so much to discuss, and it's rare that two people will agree entirely. Instead of yelling and screaming, here are a few tips to help resolve issues smoothly the next time you find yourself in the middle of a heated discussion.
Avoid using broad statements
Never say never. The saying also stands true for arguments. The thing about saying "always" and "never" is that it's rarely ever true. Using such sweeping, broad language can cause unnecessary drama and ultimately, damage.
Instead, try using sayings like "I've noticed that recently you've let her stay up later than I'm comfortable with." Using gentler language can promote a softer reaction and help you reach a peaceful agreement.
Stick to the topic
There's a tendency to bring up past issues and grievances during an argument that may have nothing to do with the disagreement at hand. Focusing on the issue in question and trying to resolve that alone instead of dredging up the past will make it easier to come to a resolution.
Allow space and time to process
You know that old saying: Never go to bed angry. Forget all about it. Sometimes, sleeping on an issue or choosing to walk away and discuss something at a later time allows you time and space to process your emotions. You could wake up with a new, fresh perspective that makes room for a simple solution.
Use "I" statements
Instead of placing the blame on your partner and leading with statements like, "You never do anything in the kitchen," or "You’re never home," try leading with "I really appreciate it when you do the dishes," or "I love spending time with you."
Sometimes, a person simply needs to be heard and validated. Validating emotions and your partner's point of view can be helpful when resolving disagreements. Try saying "I understand where you're coming from," or "I can see how you would feel that way." Practicing empathy is critical when it comes to conflict resolution.
Pay attention to timing
Timing really is everything, especially when it comes to talking things through. Choose a time to talk about issues when you and your partner both have the time and the energy to work things through. This can often mean tabling a discussion until the kids are asleep and you're able to focus.
Understand that you both offer value
Each of you has different strengths you bring to the table. Recognize that you both have unique gifts to offer your children and play those up. If one of you has more patience at bedtime, designate that person as the official bedtime parent. If the other loves cooking, take advantage of that passion and allow him or her to spend some time getting creative in the kitchen.