This is the story of a busy family,
maybe a lot like yours. They are a happy family, but every
once in a while they experience moments of conflict.
"Hey everybody, the coach passed out the
swim meet schedule today", Shane was out of breath as he ran
toward the car, his hair still wet from practice.
"Get in the car. We'll look at your schedule when we get home.
Sarah has her dance recital announcement too, we can write
everything down on the calendar." Mom smiled at her talented
children in the rearview mirror as she drove toward home.
"Here let me see your schedule", Sarah snatched the paper
out of Shane's hand in a typical little-sister fashion.
"Oh, no! Mom! Shane has a swim meet on the day of my recital.
At the same time!"
"That is a problem, isn't it?"
"Give that back. Let me see." Shane snatched the paper back
out of Sarah's hands (in a typical big-brother fashion). "Which
"Here." Sarah pointed.
"Oh no! Mom! That is the match with Victor's team. I'm going
to beat him this year, I just know it! You and Dad have to
be there to see it! "
"Hmmm, I'm not sure how we are going to solve this problem,
but I do know that we have to wait until we get home. A moving
vehicle is not a good place for arguing." Mom shot her stern
look at the two scowling children.
Each child wants both parents at his
or her special event. This is an example of conflict over
Back home, Dad joined Mom and the kids for a serious discussion.
"First of all, Mom and I want you to know that we understand
how upset you both of you are. Of course, you want your parents
to experience your moments of glory with you. But, you also
need to understand that this is a bad situation for us big
folks, too. It would break our hearts to ever have one of
you believe that we thought the other's activities were more
important than yours."
Listen to the other person's point of view
"But Dad, Shane has 10 swim meets this season. Dance class only
holds one or two recitals a year! That should make my event
"I know what you are saying is true, Sarah", said Shane. "But,
this is a special meet. Victor has beaten me every year, and
at practice, my times have been so great that I just know I
will win this year. Your dancing isn't a race or anything. Nobody
wins any ribbons or trophies." He used his most reasonable voice
and glanced out of the corner of his eye hoping his parents
Mom did notice and hid her smile at his veiled attempt at manipulating
things in his favor. She then turned a patient face toward Sarah
who had sprouted some tears (a not-so-veiled attempt of manipulation).
"Yes, Sarah, we know that you are unhappy, but we need clear
heads not emotions if we are going to find a solution to this
Solving Problems Using Conflict Resolution Skills - Page 2