A Little Advice... Fighting Fair

by Janet

Does this remind you of your house?  Around our house, we are actually fairly non- confrontational, but nevertheless tensions do arise here and there.  Here are some rules we try to follow for "fighting fair" when they do.

1.  Find out what the problem is.
2.  Attack the problem, not the person.  
3.  Use "I" messages.  "I feel so hurt/frustrated/upset when you XYZ" vs. "You make me so mad when you XYZ".  Take responsibility for your own feelings.  No one can "make" you feel anything.  
4.  Listen to what the other person has to say.
5.  Think about the other person's feelings before you say something you will regret.
6.  Think about why the other person is doing what they are doing.  MOST people don't do things just to be mean, they do them for a reason that makes sense to them based on their past experiences.  

Here are some things that are definitely OFF LIMITS when it comes to fighting fair:

Name calling
Put-downs ( I can honestly say that my husband has never put me down, pretty lucky, huh)
Making excuses
Not listening
Bringing up the past
Eye rolling
Teeth gritting ( I added this one for myself, got to admit I'm guilty of a bit of it)
"I hate you" and "Shut Up!"  (these are big ones with our little guys)

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

Really???  From my experience, words can often hurt the most. Working on our own words and actions when we have conflicts will not only help us avoid hurting the ones we love the most, but will also help our kids learn to get along with each other and other people better.  Sounds like something worth working on to me. 

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