The Importance of Having Constructive Conflict Resolution for Parents | Salma Safira Sukma from BehaviorPALS Center| Kinderkloud

The Importance of Having Constructive Conflict Resolution for Parents

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It is natural and sometimes even inevitable for parents to have conflicts. A conflict may come in many forms, from having disagreements to strong verbal arguments or physical fights. However, it is important to note that the way parents resolve conflicts, regardless how often a conflict occurs, has a bigger influence on the family dynamic. This includes the marital relationship or relationship between parents as well as the parent-child relationship. Solving conflict constructively is also a form of good parental teamwork which can influence your children’s life in the future.

While conflicts can be harmful and destructive, some conflicts are actually beneficial for the family if they are handled positively and constructively. Resolving a conflict constructively means that it is handled with progressive strategies toward a resolution, involving talking as well as listening with respect to each other. It is also about trying to understand each other’s perspectives and protecting your children in the midst of the conflict. In contrast, a destructive or unhealthy conflict resolution may involve verbal aggression or physical fights, giving the “silent treatment”, walking out in the middle of a discussion regarding the conflict, and threatening to leave home or separate. 

Arguing in front of your children or criticizing your partner in front of your children can be harmful. This is because the exposure of unhealthy parental conflict can be a significant stressor for the children which affects their mental health, such as experiencing sadness, worry, and stress to depression and lack of confidence. In addition, parents’ conflict resolution will also have an impact on parenting style which in turn will affect the parent-child relationship. Studies found that destructive strategies in solving conflict are related to negative parental practice that risk compromising typical child development (Coln et al., 2013; Hameister et al., 2015). 

On the other hand, how parents handle conflicts will be a model to their children on problem management. In other words, children will likely learn how to solve conflicts in their future relationships based on the way their parents handled their conflicts. In consequence, by implementing constructive strategies, your children will be able to learn valuable life skills, such as negotiating and solving problems effectively. Children can also find comfort by watching you and your partner being optimistic on handling disagreements or differences. 

Resolving a conflict can be a long process and it is okay to give some time for things to work out. Parents should not necessarily avoid conflict or always try to hide conflict from their children. Being exposed to conflict can be a learning opportunity for your children to handle conflicts in their own relationship in the future. Therefore, parents must be aware of how they handle conflicts so that it is constructive and healthy in a way that will make the children feel safe. Through constructive resolution strategy, parents can focus on one problem at a time to avoid further argument which strays off the topic to things in the past. Most importantly, parents should let the children know that they are not the problem and focus on the positive relationships with them.

 

References:

Blue, A. (2017, September 19). Parents: How you manage conflict has an impact on your kids. University of Arizona News. https://news.arizona.edu/story/parents-how-you-manage-conflict-has- impact-your-kids

Bolze, S. D. A., Schmidt, B., Boing, E., & Crepaldi, M. A. (2017). Marital and parental conflicts in families with children: Characteristics and resolution strategies. Special Supplement: Qualitative Research in Psychology, 27(1), 457-465. https://doi.or/10.1590/1982-432727s1201711 

Coln, K. L., Jordan, S. S., & Mercer, S.H. (2013). A unified model exploring parenting practices as mediators of marital conflict and children’s adjustment. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 44(3), 419-429. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-012-0336-8 

Conflict management for parents. (2021, January 20). Raising Children Network Australia. Retrieved July 8, 2022, from https://raisingchildren.net.au/grown-ups/Looking-after-yourself/communication-conflict/conflict-management-for-parents#:~:text=The%20important%20thing%20is% 20bagaimana,konflik%20jauh%20dari%20anak%20anda

Hameister, B. R., Barbosa, P. V., & Wagner, A. (2015). Conjugalidade e parentalidade: Uma revisão sistemática do efeito spillover [Marital conflict and parenting: Systematic review of the spillover]. Arquivos Brasileiros de Psicologia, 67(2), 140-155. 

 

By: Salma Safira Sukma Ikhsani, S.Psi. from BehaviorPALS Center

parents, conflict, resolution, constructive

Children 4 Years - 6 Years / 4 Tahun - 6 Tahun / Marriage & Relationship / Hubungan Suami & Istri / Family / Keluarga / The Importance of Having Constructive Conflict Resolution for Parents

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