Keeping conflict out of parenting

Conflict is a normal part of life and a natural part of relationships, particularly when there are differing personalities. Add to the mix, the challenge of raising children who often test the boundaries, or engage in conflict with each other, and it’s easy to understand why parents often feel stressed. Here are some tips to help you keep conflict out of parenting.

Control the urge to yell

Anger is a normal emotion, and parents can sometimes feel angry. But remember you are the adult in the dynamic, so try to avoid yelling. Yelling can escalate conflict and result in you saying things you may later regret.

Set boundaries for behaviour

Set very clear rules or boundaries about what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour in your household, along with consequences for crossing those boundaries. Children should have a good understanding of where they stand. Remember, following through on consequences is just as important as setting boundaries.

Separate the deed from the doer

When you’re feeling frustrated or angry about your child’s behaviour it can be easy to berate them. However, positive parenting involves separating the deed from the doer; that is, focusing on the behaviour of your child. For example, say, ‘I am disappointed in your behaviour,’ instead of ‘I am disappointed in you’.

Stick to the current issue

Address the current issue only. Don’t bring up and discuss past mistakes, to add weight to your case. You should also avoid predicting what your child will do, or be like, in the future.

Family having breakfast

Avoid lecturing

Children switch off when they feel they are being lectured. Instead, give them a short message indicating your feelings. If they are old enough, engage them in conversation about what has occurred, rather than having a one-sided ‘telling off’.

Recognise when you have made mistakes

No parent is perfect and we all make mistakes. Recognising when you are in the wrong and apologising for it is important. It shows your children that everyone makes mistakes. It also provides you with an opportunity to show your children how to apologise when they are in the wrong.

Avoid taking frustrations out on your kids

All of us experience frustration, anger or anxiety about other things, such as our jobs or relationships. While it’s easy for these feelings to spill over into the rest of our lives, try to avoid taking these feelings out on your children.

Avoid arguing with your partner

Yes, you and your partner will have disagreements. You may even have disagreements or arguments about your children. However, avoid engaging in these types of discussions, disagreements or arguments in front of your kids.

None of us were born ‘perfect parents’. We all make mistakes, particularly when it comes to raising children. However, if you can deal with difficult situations calmly, you can keep the anger and conflict out of parenting.

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