Wishing You Well

Help! My kids are fighting! What should I do?

1. Take care of yourself first!

Breathe deeply and affirm, “I’m safe. Keep breathing. I can handle this,” so you can approach your children calmly.

2. Physically separate the children.

Assertively say, “Stop," and place your body between your children's.

Keep breathing and focus on maintaining the inner state you want both children to return to. Encourage them to take a deep breath. Say, “Breathe with me,” and help them calm themselves.

3. Let BOTH children be heard.

Get down to their eye-level and say, “Both of you seem so angry. Something must have happened.”

Let each child know you will listen to her story. Ask the first child, “Something must have happened?” in a questioning tone. Offer support to the second child by positioning yourself next to her and putting your hand on her shoulder as you listen.

The second child will often interrupt, “But she…” Reassure her by keeping your hand on her shoulder and saying, “It’s hard to wait your turn. You will get a turn when she’s finished.”

4. Clarify & Reframe with Positive Intent

When the first child has finished, restate what she said to get clarification, offer empathy and reframe the situation with positive intent. “You were angry because she took your hat. You wanted it back and forgot to ask.”

Then reposition yourself next to the first child and ask the second child to share. Restate, clarify, offer empathy and reframe with positive intent. “You were upset about what she said on the bus and didn’t know other ways to let her know.”

5. After both sides share, step into the Time Machine! The Time Machine is a helpful structure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Ask, “Did you like it when she_____?”

Step 2: She responds “NO!”

Step 3: Set the limit on the hurtful act and include choices for the next time: “You may not grab someone’s hat. Grabbing is hurtful. The next time you want her to know you are upset with something she said, say, ' I didn’t like it when you said_____.' Next time please say or do _____. Or come ask me for help.”

Step 4: Say it now for practice.

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