Monday, January 2, 2012

Between a Rock and Hard Place

Do you find yourself always in the middle of a conflict? As a mother, I am finding more and more that I am the “ go to” person whenever there is an argument or a source of tension.When we know its coming how do we deal it?

We all have conflict. It’s natural and it’s normal. Conflict is the stuff that makes us grow. Without it, we don’t know what our weaknesses are nor our strengths for that matter.

Well, I found myself in a recent conflict caught between my strong willed baby girl and my strong willed wonderful husband. As mothers, we seem to be navigating relationships and conflict all the time. At times, we handle it gracefully and other times ...well...not so gracefully.

Truthfully, I had a heads up and could see this particular conflict coming to “a head”. My daughter and my husband are so much alike they have some difficulty communicating. I am usually the person that ends up in the middle.

When my family was younger, I can’t say I was very good at this but as I have grown older, I have grown wiser. I have learned a few things about being the “ go to” person when there is a conflict in my house.

1. I had to learn to listen more. Sometimes the words are masking their feelings. Being defensive makes us look tough but it hides what we are really feeling. So I had to learn to listen beyond their words.

2. I have learned to be objective. I am the listener. I listen and if the person wants an opinion, I will give it. But I always ask "Do you want me to tell you what I see going on?” or " Would you like my advice?". Sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes it is no. If it’s yes, I try to talk about the positive stuff I see first, then areas of improvement. If the answer is no, I wish them the best and keep it moving.

3. I try to maintain a soft and trusting demeanor. I try really hard to not take anything personal. I realize in the heat of the moment words are said. So my goal is to control my reactions. If I am the source of the conflict, I try to listen. If I am caught in the middle, I try to not personalize it.

More than anything, I try to empathize with the needs of everyone. The stress of being a middle schooler, a high schooler, a parent, a provider, and a friend can add up quickly.

So I remind them and myself, as I am reminding each reader to remember family is your soft place to fall.