Stop the Intensity in Conflict

Sometimes a child's stubbornness or defiance is obvious. In those moments, stop dealing with the issue at hand and talk about the process of how you're relating. "I can tell you're upset and it's not good for us to continue until you settle down. You need to take a break and come back when you're ready to continue talking about this." Have the child sit in the hall or on the top step or some other boring place. After the child has settled down, then he or she needs to come back to you and talk about the problem.

If your child comes back without having a heart change, then send the child back again. One dad told the story of seven-year-old Sarah who was yelling at her brother. "I called her upstairs to talk to me about it and she began yelling at me. I told her that was inappropriate and to take a break for a bit and settle down.

About a minute later she came back but was obviously not changed. Her head was tilted down, her posture was slumping and her bottom lip was sticking out. I didn't even have to talk with her. I just told her what I saw, "Sarah, I can tell you're not ready yet. The way you're standing and the expression on your face all tell me that you still have a problem in your heart. I want you to go back until you're ready to come out with a changed heart.

"This time she stayed away for about 20 minutes and when she returned she was obviously different. In fact, I took her head in my hands and looked deep into her eyes and said, 'I can see your heart in there. It looks pretty nice right now. It looks like you're ready to talk about this.' Sarah giggled and then we continued to talk about the problem. I explained to her that she could not yell at her dad. That is disrespectful even if she is angry. We also talked about the right responses she could have if she was angry with her brother."

By enforcing a break, this dad helped Sarah change her heart. Don't allow conflict to escalate into a battle. Stop the intensity with a break. It will not only help you stay calm but it will help your children develop some maturity about dealing with conflict.

What are some ways you've see the Break work in your family?
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Milan Tomic

Hi. I’m Designer of Blog Magic. I’m CEO/Founder of ThemeXpose. I’m Creative Art Director, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Interaction Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Developer, Business Enthusiast, StartUp Enthusiast, Speaker, Writer and Photographer. Inspired to make things looks better.

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4 comments:

  1. This is very practical for dealing with kids who have uncontrollable anger issues. When a kid gets angry in our residential facility, i ask them what is making them angry rather than responding to the issue they bring up.

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  2. What do you do if the child refuses to "take a break"? (i.e. refuses to sit, stay still, calm down, ect.)

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  3. Leslie, that's a good question. The Break is a skill. Rarely do kids like it. And usually they resist it at first. They need to learn that it is a required skill, not an elective. With very young children you may just put them there and teach it that way. With older kids you are likely going to stop any continued life activities until they deal with it. We address many of the challenges of teaching a Break in our book "Good and Angry." It takes work to develop a Break and it's part of our bigger correction routine. Hope that helps a bit.

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  4. If you are a single parent it might be harder to teach the taking a break skill. And like Joanne said, it is a skill. I encourage you to persevere. Your children will be learning a life long learning skill.

    Many times children in single parent families have big anger issues. Help your child to realize that it's not the anger but what they do with the anger that causes problems. Taking a break will help your child sort through the anger issues. Sometimes it might be the divorce or the death issues that they are really angry about but they may be taking the anger out on others.

    Keep the lines of communications open when your child has had a heart change and is ready to talk. As a single parent you may also find yourself angry at times. Model taking a break for your children. Tell them you are angry and upset and you need a break. Come back with a heart change yourself and your children will notice.

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