Conflict Resolution Series: Prepare for Conflict Before It Strikes
If you have a sibling, you’ve experienced conflict from the moment you were small. The first time your sibling wanted a toy that was yours, the fight was on. Depending on how your parents dealt with it, you knew how to deal with that conflict the next time, including a shove and shouting the word MINE!
One of the best tools to avoid or resolve conflict is preparation. Being prepared for conflict and having a plan can prevent or greatly shorten the lifespan of the disagreement. But can you truly prepare for any conflict? YES.
There are certain universal things to consider about life in general that help better prepare for conflict. Here are just a few:
Most people are generally good Realizing that most people are generally good means that conflict may arise, but rational thought can prevail. Sometimes a conflict can be avoided by not reacting or offering an apology. Most people who might be primed for a good fight will back down if the other party is humble and kind in spite of the potential for war.
Scared people become defensive If you encounter someone who is hot under the collar or being reactionary, try to see what they could fear. If you can determine what they might be afraid of, you can address that with empathy and might be able to avoid or shorten the lifespan of the conflict.
Some people get their power from conflict Some people flat get a high from being low. Some people love to instigate and egg others into conflict. If this is the case, there is likely little you can do to defuse the situation and will most likely have to walk away - even if you are frustrated in the process. Some people simply aren’t worth the effort.
You can prepare for conflict by being intentional about it. When you are at odds with someone, from your sibling to your neighbor, evaluate the situations and come up with a plan for next time. Chances are, you will find yourself in a similar situation in the future and you can pull from your tool chest in time of need.
You can also use experiences to teach your children new ways to resolve and avoid conflict themselves. When your kids experience conflict, help them review what happened and make a new plan so they are better prepared the next time their sibling wants to take their toy.
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