Menu
4 effective ways to handle conflict (and prepare kids for life)

If you know what needs to be said and done, but it is neither said nor done you are in the ‘conflict avoidance’ zone.


Nobody wants to fight with their kids or spouse.  A little peace and quiet seems like a good thing, a desirable state of affairs.  Who doesn’t want a hassle-free morning, an argument-free vacation, a quiet dinner, or a compliant child?

We all do—however, avoiding our inner wisdom and going for harmony often leads to bigger conflicts and problems later on.  Gratification in the short term can derail our long-term vision and results.

Let’s get to the heart of the matter, so we can change it.

This phenomenon of avoiding conflict is definitely in my top five list of what not to do.  I see it as a volunteer, as a coach, in the business world, and in my own life.

I am no stranger to conflict avoidance.  As a child, I got the message not to share my (differing) opinions and my feelings.  Of course, I took this message into adulthood, marriage and parenting.  It did not serve me well, and it takes a conscious effort to overcome it, and speak my mind in ways that can be heard.

We are master problem-solvers.  Like all good problem-solvers, though, we must first identify obstacles that hold us back. Why do more people than not avoid conflict?  Why do you do what has the potential to backfire on you, your children and your relationships?

As always, fear is the biggest motivator.  More specifically, it’s fear of speaking the truth as you see it.

What are the outcomes you’re trying to avoid? Being rejected. Feeling unloved or unwanted. Making a mistake or being wrong. Not being perfect. Not getting your way. Others being angry at you. Your children saying they hate you and giving you the silent treatment. Jeopardizing a friendship. Having to act on that truth and feeling unable to follow through. That’s just a sampling.

Hopefully, it will get you thinking about why you spend time in the ‘conflict avoidance zone.’  Once you figure it out, here are some tips for stepping out and living in a more honest way.

1. Stop

You know when you’re going there.  You can feel it in your breathing or in the flutter or tightness that settles somewhere in your body.  When you become aware of it, stop what you’re doing, stop what you’re saying. Breathe.

2. Listen to yourself

To the inner voice of wisdom that is bubbling up to be heard.

3.  Understand the real message

It’s the voice of truth, not of avoidance and conciliation.  The truth may be difficult to say and to hear, but ultimately it does set you free.  It will clear the way for understanding, connection and the next right step.

4.  Share your truth

If you continue to run from it, it will smother you and your relationships.  The key is in how you express it.  There are ways to say what you mean with love and integrity, and without judgment and anger.

Then, reflect on the situation.

  • What is an issue that you shy away from discussing, and what is the fear?
  • How does avoiding this issue affect you and your family later on?
  • What are your children learning about how to resolve differences when you react this way?
  • Consider discussing the issue of ‘conflict avoidance’ with family members.
  • Script out what you’d like to say so you can remain calm and stay on topic.

We come back, as always, to how this impacts you as a parent and your relationship with your child. Self-aware, effective parents know when they've been triggered. They recognize the importance of acknowledging their fears and working through them so they can better support their children.

When you avoid a difficult conversation, the issue doesn't fade away, it just goes into hiding. Going for peace and harmony in your family may feel better in the moment, but the problem will likely get bigger, less manageable and erupt. You end up getting more of the problematic behaviors you were trying to avoid!

Consider what you are teaching your child when you react this way and avoid those hard conversations: harmony is more important than the truth, it's okay to avoid conflict rather than face it head on and move on, this is what relationships look and sound like.

You are their most important teacher and they are always watching what you do (much more than listening to what you say). They will take this image into their intimate, social and business relationships and it will not serve them well.

Speaking the truth is challenging, but it is doable. When you falter, remember your vision for your children and how you want them to show up in the world. This can help you find that bit of courage to confront the truth and defuse the conflict.

Originally posted on Fern Weiss.

They say necessity is the mother of invention—and nothing makes you more inventive than motherhood.

Sometimes that means fashioning a diaper out of paper towels and your older child's underpants (true story). Sometimes that means creating an innovative and life-changing weighted baby sleep sack and totally crushing it on Shark Tank. Tara Williams is the latter.

Keep reading Show less
Shop

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this

Shop

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

Keep reading Show less
Life