Conflict Resolution Resources
The Wide World of Conflict Resolution is full of helpful resources to explore. Here are some tips, tools, and reading material for you.
DIY Conflict Resolution
Tips for turning conflict into opportunity!
Next time you are faced with a difficult situation with a friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor, try using the tips below to avoid misunderstanding and create a productive conversation that addresses everyone’s needs and concerns.
1. Talk Directly
Assuming that there is not a threat of physical violence, talk directly to the person with whom you have the problem. Direct conversation is much more effective than sending a letter, banging on the wall, throwing a rock, or complaining to everyone else.
2. Choose a Good Time
Plan ahead and allow yourselves enough time for a thorough discussion. Don’t start talking about the conflict just as the other person is leaving to make dinner. Try to talk in a quiet place where you can both be comfortable and undisturbed for as long as the discussion takes.
3. Plan Ahead
Think out what you want to say ahead of time. Explain what the problem is and how it affects you.
4. Don’t Blame or Name Call
Antagonizing the other person only makes it harder for him or her to hear you and understand your concerns. Don’t blame the other person for everything or begin the conversation with your opinion of what should be done.
5. Give Information
Don’t interpret the other person’s behavior: “You are blocking my driveway on purpose just to make me mad!” Instead, give information about your own feelings: “When your car blocks my driveway, I get angry because I can’t get to work on time.”
Give the other person a chance to tell his or her side of the conflict completely. Relax and listen, try to learn where the other person in coming from.
7. Show that you are Listening
Although you may not agree with what is being said, let the other person know that you hear her or him; repeat to them what you hear them saying to make sure that you understand correctly.
8. Talk it Through
Once you start, get all of the issues and feelings out into the open. Don’t leave out the part that seems too “difficult” to discuss or too “insignificant” to be important. Your solution will work best if all issues are discussed thoroughly.
9. Work on a Solution
When you both feel that you have expressed your concerns, been heard and clearly heard the other person’s concerns, start working on a solution. Two or more people cooperating are much more effective than one person telling the other to change. Be specific: “I will turn my music off at midnight” is better than a vague “I won’t play loud music anymore.”
10. Follow Through
Agree to check with each other at specific times to make sure that the agreement is still working….then really do it!
Conflict Resolution Organizations
Common Ground Mediation – Coos/Douglas Counties
Neutral Ground Dispute Resolution Center – Walla Walla
Center for Dialogue and Resolution – Pierce County
Resolving conflicts requires active listening and assertive speaking – to both accurately understand others and clearly convey your own needs. The below short videos offer helpful tips on listening and speaking effectively.
Conflict often moves people into a nervous system response similar to a trauma state. This chart describes the nervous system states associated with trauma: Trauma and How to Respond. When you engage in conflict resolution, remember to focus on regulating your nervous system as much as you focus on communicating with the other parties.
Choosing the right conflict style for your situation is key! This short video explains the five basic conflict styles people use. Which do you prefer?
1) The Coach-Mediate-Consult website, links and accompanying handbook and workbook provide many sources of helpful information to co-parents, including step parents, for talking with and caring for their children when the parents decide to divorce, as well as, guidance for setting up a parenting plan. The books are available in audio
“With a tested “here’s how” approach, The Co-Parenting Handbook helps parents confidently take on the challenges of guiding children through divorce and raising them skillfully in two homes. For your child’s sense of family, what divorce breaks apart, strong co-parenting rebuilds.” https://coachmediateconsult.com/co-parenting-coach/
2) Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way by Gary Neuman is a “warm and empathetic guide” dealing with a wide range of issues faced by parents and their children, such as:
• How to build a co-parenting relationship–even when you think you can’t
• Age-appropriate scripts for addressing sensitive issues
• How to stop fighting with your ex-spouse
• How to cope with kids’ common fears about separation
• How to introduce significant others into the family and help your child cope with a new stepfamily
“More than a hundred pieces of artwork from children of divorce will help you appreciate how kids perceive the experience. Dozens of special activities and fun exercises will help you communicate and get closer to your child. This guide shows you that divorce need not be an inevitable blot on children’s lives, but an opportunity for them to grow and strengthen the bonds with their parents.”
3) Planning for Parenting Time, Arizona’s Guide for Parents Living Apart is a free, comprehensive guide to designing a parenting plan that will work best for you and your children. The guide presents detailed information and samples to help in creating individual parenting plans.
4) Keeping Kids Out of the Middle is a simple, straightforward article (blog) by Elizabeth Denham about how to be sure to put the children’s interest first and preserve their relationship with both parents.
5) This article in Divorce Magazine has been edited and excerpted from What To Tell the Kids about Your Divorce by Darlene Weyburne.
Topics include developing respect for your co-parent, supporting your children’s relationship with your ex, communicating about important issues, child support, child custody and relocation and mediation as a good option for helping to create a parenting plan. What to Tell Your Kids “offers creative exercises and common-sense advice, this comprehensive guide will assist you to move beyond your own anger so you can help your kids cope with your divorce.”
6) Four Ways to Help Your Teenage Daughter Cope with Divorce by Terry Gaspard is an article in the Huffington Post that discusses the issues that arise particularly for girls when their parents divorce. The blog suggests how to address these issues and help teenage daughters gain a sense of security and resiliency.
7) Tips for Divorced Parents, Making Joint Custody Work After a Divorce or Separation is an article on the HelpGuide.org website that provides four fundamental tips to achieve the benefits and avoid the pitfalls of joint custody.
8) This article titled Expert Tips and Advice for When You’re Getting a Divorce and Children are Involved, or, how to help your kids through a family breakup. Author Ely Prior begins with the words “First of all, I want to reassure you – the end of your relationship or marriage itself isn’t necessarily going to have a negative effect on your children.” She increases awareness of children’s sensitivity to parental conflict and
suggests numerous ways of avoiding and counteracting the potentially harmful impacts of divorce on children.
9) In this TED Talk, Dr .Nadine Burke Harris speaks about the significance of childhood trauma and the fact that early adversity affects health across a lifetime. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95ovIJ3dsNk
10) This video of a child speaking to her parent is heartwarming and instructive. It emphasizes the importance of working together for the benefit of all members of the family.
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