Are you stuck in a conflict loop?

Uncategorized May 16, 2017

Patterns are essentially a series of habits linked together. They really serve us as we can get through vast percentages of our life without consciously thinking about

  • walking,
  • breathing,
  • talking,
  • brushing our teeth,
  • driving a car,
  • making a cup of tea and so on. 

 These patterns are wired into our hardware and allow us to move through life easily. 

The downside is that some habits and patterns that don’t serve us are also hardwired into us.  Like conflict loops:

  • Our child starts whining and we start shouting at them
  • Our children start fighting and we have an impulse to smack or join the fight,
  • Our child doesn’t listen to us and we feel the same lecture coming on,
  • Our children leave their laundry on the floor and the cupboard doors open and we have the same irritation rising within us. 

 We react in the same way, without thought.  They do too.  Depending on the personalities and the situation you can be guaranteed there is a large degree of same old, same old going on here.  

When we react to our children in a conflict loop how successful is it?

Clearly not otherwise we wouldn’t be in repetitive situations. 

 If you bash into a wall you learn that doesn’t work and you don’t do it again. You consciously side step the wall and think about your choice of timing and path.  

 Yet, short on other options perhaps, we use the same ineffective deeply patterned (ineffective) conflict loops in our homes with our children.  We lose the opportunity to show them different ways to respond thus building their choice and self-awareness muscles.

 Parenting consciously

When we parent consciously we start to become observers in our lives.  We look and see where patterns exist and identify what isn’t serving us, our children, our lives.  We consider what conflict areas exist and we create strategies to deal with them. 

The first and critical step however, is to become aware.  Once we are aware we may not initially be successful in shifting the pattern, for example raising our voice when our children squabble, but we are starting to formulate another pattern.  This pattern can be based on choice of response rather than impulse to react.

 Breaking the conflict loop

The deep consideration is this, if you are prepared to break a conflict loop through observing, choosing something new. Reflecting on how it is going, what are you going to choose to do differently?  Here are some thoughts, which we develop more extensively in our courses, on how to deal with situations without conflict:

  1.  Discussions:  age appropriate discussions go a long way to growing children’s awareness about how certain behaviours impact the family and what the family deems unacceptable or undesirable.
  2. Collaboration:  Once you have established a conflict loop exists, children can be wonderful collaborators in creative problem solving to dissolve the loop and create a response loop.  And in the process you have shown children that they can conflict resolvers and problem solvers at the same time
  3. Golden Silence:  Believe it or not when children are acting out they know it already and when we hold silence, especially if it is extremely unusual, we give issues an opportunity to resolve organically.
  4. Move it to lose it:  exercise and physical activity send a cascade of wonderful chemicals through our bodies and this is a great way to put a wedge into a conflict in a healthy way.  Tickle, run, trampoline, swing or anything physical can shift a poor dynamic to a better one.

Our next Contemporary Parenting Signature Course runs at Makaranga starting on May 9th.  For more information see our facebook page or website or mail hello@contemporaryparenting.co.za

 

 

 

 

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