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CEE's Family Building Blocks
July/August 1997

Win the Conflict War

Frustration about chores left undone, arguments over rules, disagreeable behavior--no family is immune from conflict! In fact, as a child naturally grows and matures, increasing independence is often displayed by "testing the limits." It may be normal, but it's no fun to have conflict in the home! How can parents fight back? Here are some tips to help bring peace to your home:

  • Focus on eliminating the conflict, not "winning the fight."
  • Set the tone. Follow the advice of Colossians 4:6, using kind words and logic to encourage the desired behavior; avoid your child's "hot buttons" or an attitude that invites rebellion and hostility.
  • Be specific in expectations. Clearly state the desired behavior and time frame (i.e. "Please put all these toys back on the shelf right now"). Avoid demeaning generalizations ("You are so lazy--you never pick up your toys"). They could become self-fulfilling prophesies!
  • Focus on the behavior, not the child. Instead of criticizing your child or his character, focus on the behavior and your reasons for objecting. For example, instead of saying, "You're late again! You are so irresponsible!," try "I am very upset that you are late because I was worried that something bad happened to you."
  • Praise specifically. Focus praise statements on specific character traits reflected in the child, i.e. "You did a great job cleaning your room. Thank you for being so responsible and taking care of your things."
  • Create age-appropriate rules. Try not to exasperate your children (Eph. 6:4) with unrealistic expectations. Base your standards of evaluation upon what a child is reasonably capable of accomplishing. Extend freedom as it is earned.
  • Look for aspects to praise, then teach them to improve with upbeat, helpful words. Philippians 4:8 urges us to dwell on the GOOD.
  • Create a range of several alternatives. Brainstorm choices. Avoid a win/lose, my idea vs. your idea approach.
  • Make chores fun. Race, have contests, play games--teach little ones responsibility without drudgery.

Remind instead of nagging. Try chore charts, slips of paper with assignments in a jar, matching chores with child's interests; a board with pictures of your child doing various chores (display as needed). Set clear timelines and consequences.

Other topics featured:
  • Keeping Kids Safe
  • Focus on Marriage: It’s a Date!
  • Great Expectations—A Youth Minister’s Word to Parents
  • Grannies Goodies: Tips for gum removal, teaching number I.D. skills, info on ear infections and gum chewing, and a recipe for Creamed Corn
  • Count-Down Time (back-to-school and other creative advents)
  • Playful Postcards
  • Pool Teeth
  • Family Night Lesson: Creating a Happy Home
  • One-month "loving" calendar

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