Conflict resolution can be as simple as following a step-by-step procedure. As humans we develop patterns in the way we resolve things and one way is to complain or argue. Adding a new problem solving protocol will only last if we work to change our negative behavior patterns as well. Here are some tips on how to do just that.
Warning – Change is uncomfortable and can seem scripted and silly. Only the brave and strong will agree to such tactics!
For parents role modeling is a vital part of teaching children/youth. The old saying “Do as I say not as I do” is perplexing and does not prove valid scientifically. In order to reprogram our negative response patterns to positive productive behaviors we must develop new habits. The following pattern breakers can reduce the emotional struggle we feel stuck in, disrupt automatic negative reactions, and promote feelings that deter us from going through with the negative behavior patterns.
A: Changing any body pattern associated with the problem behavior (example) – People who yell will sit down on the floor before they yell.
B: Changing timing or duration of pattern – be argumentative, be compulsive, or be anxious for a specific period of time or amount of action, daily (example) argue at 5pm for 5 minutes no arguing any other time.
C: Changing location of patterns performance – whenever you want to complain or argue about something you must do it in a different location or in a different manner (example) complain with a towel on your head, standing on one foot and or holding the person’s hand.
D: Adding at least one new element to the complaint or arguing pattern – Before going to make the complaint or argument you must add something to your appearance or approach (example) put on a crown or you must pay to complain or state an argument (place money in a jar for use as a family fun date).
E: Linking the complaint or argument performance to the performance of some burdensome activity – When thoughts about complaining or arguing enter your mind for an extended period of time (10 minutes) you must do a task (example) complete a chore or task that takes at least 10 minutes to complete and that you do not like to do.
F: Changing the context of the complaint or argument– Someone who has difficulty giving compliments must give two compliments a day to each family member or do acts of kindness if they complain or argue.
G: Change the clothing worn during the pattern – If you feel argumentative or complaint driven you must change your clothing or shirt to a predetermined color like blue for arguing and green for complaining.
Hesketh K. R., Goodfellow L., Ekelund U., McMinn A. M., Godfrey K. M., Inskip H. M., Cooper C., Harvey N. C. & van Sluijs E. M. F. (2014). Activity levels in mothers and their preschool children. Pediatrics, DOI: 10.1542/peds.2013-3153