Sitting in his second floor home office, my husband, Dave, heard the scurry of feet with the rolling of what could only be walnuts across the attic floor. Not wanting to hurt what had to be a pesky squirrel storing his winter stash, my husband did a humane thing. He bought a trap that would catch the creature live so that he could remove him from the attic.
Three days that cage sat on the attic floor. The only thing that happened was that the squirrel moved to the other corner of the house above my son’s back bedroom. Drats!
The next day, my husband moved the cage out onto the roof beside his office window and watched as the squirrel took his bushy tail, slung it over his head, and backed into the small space where flashing was missing from the attic siding. It was as if the squirrel was saying, “I’m too smart for you. You can’t catch me.”
This game went on for almost a week. The squirrel would even look over the side of the roof into the office window to let Dave know that a squirrel could outsmart a human. We laughed all week at the shenanigans this squirrel would pull. At one point we found him with three of his friends perched outside the cage–my husband’s fresh walnut bait missing.
Finally the day arrived. With one squirrel caged, my husband threw the trap into the car and carted him off to the local park for release. Off the squirrel ran.
That afternoon Dave trapped two more. Each release was similar. He’d open the cage and off the squirrel would run to go find his friends. My husband’s sense of success was showing and I knew he had visions of finally being able to repair the roof flashing. He had finally outsmarted these rascals.
The next morning, squirrel number four had met his fate. Caged and carted to the park, my husband released the squirrel just like the rest. But this squirrel was different. He didn’t run off thrilled at the sight of freedom. This squirrel slowly sauntered out of the cage, turned and stood on his hind legs as he barked at my husband for several minutes.
“Oh, my,” was going through my husband’s mind. “What do I do if he attacks? I should have planned better for an exit strategy!”
Sometimes our conflict with teens can be similar to the one Dave had with the squirrels. Our kids have an idea that doesn’t match up with ours. We try to do the humane thing and reason with them, but just like squirrels, our teens don’t think like we do.
Then comes what I call the ‘ganging up’. If you’ve got tweens and teens you know what I’m talking about. The “but EVERYONE is going” card that is played can make us feel as if we are the only parent on the planet that is thinking that the answer should be “no”.
Do you know how to handle those situations in a way that will deflate the anger and frustration with your kid?
And then there is that ‘screaming squirrel’ or difficult kid that will bark at us when he’s angry and not getting his way. These are the kids that force us into the freeze position. It’s where we don’t want to make a move for fear of what will happen if we make the wrong decision.
If you are like me, sometimes you’ve found yourself in any of these positions. We want a relationship. We think we are being reasonable. Yet, our kids don’t see things the same way. As conflict brews we need to have a strategy–a plan to move through the defensive behavior while still maintaining the relationship. We also need to be able to maintain a sense of humor in the situation. After all, yes, our kids might pull some shenanigans, but we are still the parents.
Dare 22 in With All Due Respect has a strategy for dealing with sibling conflict. How did they learn it? It’s obvious that Mom had put a plan in place before the conflict occurred. She modeled what healthy conflict looked like and was there to coach through the situation.
Do you know how to navigate conflict well? Do your relationships deepen as you work to resolve your differences?
If you are like most of us, it’s a struggle. Just like parenting, conflict resolution is not one of the things that we’re taught in school. If your parents didn’t resolve conflict well, then most likely you’ve not been given the skills to help your kids.
God has given each of us a mission field when it comes to our kids. And if you are like me, you want most to hear Him say “Well done my good and faithful servant”. I would encourage you to pray about sharpening your conflict resolution skills–for you and for the legacy you will leave for your kids.
I have two opportunities for you.
Our With All Due Respect on-line eCourse runs January 8 through March 28, 2018. There you can join other moms from the convenience of your home computer as we go through the book. You can set your own schedule as to when you access the videos and other training materials. I’ll be there along with our mentor, Sandi Winnen. We promise you encouragement as you put your parenting strategy in place for dealing with your tweens, teens, and 20-somethings. Iron sharpens iron and as parents we need other like-minded people walking beside us. If your kids are between the ages of 9-29, this group is for you.
Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed.
If you want to forge the relationship with your kids and get more in-depth learning in how to better deal with conflict and handle difficult relationships more effectively, we have a Deflating Defensiveness Training Retreat coming up May 30-June 3, 2018 near Cincinnati, Ohio. This is an opportunity for you to learn, practice, and put a plan in place for strengthening the relationships with the “challenging people” in your life. I found out Friday that the early-bird pricing has been extended until January 31, so grab your spot early since our private rooms are limited.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.
I hope that whether you choose to join us or not that you will think about the conflict in your home. Put together a plan that will help you resolve it well.
“Let go…and Let God”,