Periodic quarrels in any family life are quite natural. Quarrels and conflicts are part of a healthy relationship dynamics when people “grind” to each other or try to find a solution acceptable to both.
Each of the participants in the conflict gains and loses something. Despite the fact that I do not work with children, I often encounter the consequences of family conflicts in the person of adult clients who were formerly children and watched a family showdown. It would seem that no tragedy happened and everyone eventually reconciled. However, in the children's psyche, this is a big wound that bleeds for years and leaves an imprint on all future life.
My adult clients, who inevitably bring childhood injuries into their adult lives, most often share how they felt when they witnessed adult conflicts. And today they understand the causes and consequences of human behavior, they understand the human factor, they themselves are active and passive participants in conflicts, but when they fall into similar circumstances, where does everything rational go!
Our early experience is delayed in the psyche. Children's experience, which has become an emotional and bodily memory, is called Inner child. It is from this part of the personality that we experience the very feelings that we had in childhood. Therefore, children of conflicting parents often suffer and become adults.
What does it look like? You, as an adult, perfectly aware of reality, find yourself in a situation where, for example, a husband and wife quarrel. They say certain phrases, and when you return to childhood, you again become a child who wants to reconcile his parents with all his strength and is ready to take all the blame on himself, step in, separate, prove to everyone that he is wrong. All for peace.
In order to cope with the consequences of such an experience where a person witnessed a relationship clarification in childhood, we usually return to situations with clients, recall our feelings, thoughts, and decisions that were made in that stressful environment. And based on what the client now knows about life, he makes a new, productive decision. For example, we can change in a few sessions the client’s earlier decision that “It’s my fault that close people quarrel, and I can fix it”, to another, adult and more productive - “Conflicts of two separate adults are their responsibility. I can choose when to intervene and when not to intervene in these conflicts. ”
This happens to adults when they get into psychotherapy. But what to do so that your children do not become clients of psychotherapists in the future?
The younger the child, the less he should be included in the conflict. This means that young children should be protected from active participation or contemplation of family showdowns. The best way is to conflict out of the sight of the child. It is advisable to minimize the “loudness" of the conflict and completely eliminate damage to each other or the surrounding property. This is useful in any conflicts. I draw your attention to the fact that this applies specifically to young children. One way or another, older children will be included in the process. And for them, slightly different rules apply.
Distribute responsibility in a conflict. The worst thing that can be is to leave the child a witness to the conflict, and then not to react to it in any way. Even конфликт occurred between you and your husband or wife, but there was a child present, the task of the parents is to relieve the child of responsibility for what is happening, which he inevitably takes upon himself. Why? Because in intolerable circumstances, each person assumes responsibility and, accordingly, feels guilty. This is a protective mechanism that helps to cope. Because if responsibility does not lie with me, it means that I can’t do anything to change the situation. It’s impossible to cope with this, but to accept it too. If your child has witnessed a family conflict - at the end of this conflict both parents must come up to the child and talk with him that sometimes adults quarrel, so they try to come to a common opinion.
The quarreling people are angry, that's fine. It is important to find out how the child feels, to call his feelings words (you are scared, you are angry). Next, you need to explain to the child that he does not need to be afraid or interfere in the conflicts of mom and dad. It is also necessary to explain that everything that happens is not the responsibility of the child, that adults are able to cope with this and come to a common decision. Very rarely, but there are parents who still figure out with the child how he understood the conflict. Of course, this works with older children. It is imperative that the child hears that both adults take responsibility for what is happening from both parents.
Both parties to the conflict do not leave the room or apartment until the conflict is resolved. This is of strategic importance. Watching the interaction of parents, the child adopts a model of behavior of parents of his gender and a model of relationships with the parent of the opposite sex. A healthy conflict resolution is a solution here and now. This means that only the situation that arises is discussed, it is discussed at the very moment when it is relevant, the participants remain in contact with each other for as long as necessary to fully resolve the situation. If the child sees that one of the parents leaves the house at the time of the conflict, he will take on a behavior model in which the conflict is not resolved, but avoided.
The fourth rule
The child must see and understand the solution to the conflict. Both parents use simple and understandable language for the child, and in his presence they repeat the compromise solution to which they came. In addition, it is very important that each of the parties to the conflict apologize to others, including the child. This is a good example - to learn to realize that every participant is to blame for any quarrel and everyone suffers. Even a passive observer. Apologies need to be sincerely looking at each other.
Learn to express your point of view in the format “Code you say so, I feel ...” This teaches you and the child to share responsibility. Classics of the genre: “You (bad / indifferent / irresponsible)! Change! ”If you give yourself a pause for reflection, it becomes clear that this wording removes responsibility from the accuser and places it on the accused. And everything would be fine, but there is a nuance. Relations - This is, above all, equal participation and equal responsibility of both of the couple. Both of them. And always equally. And this means that you can solve any problem only by getting involved in it equally. The next nuance is a physiological reaction to aggression: protection, avoidance or fading. None of this solves the problem. When you speak on your own, you take responsibility for your feelings and show the other how he affects you. This is what you need to teach a child in conflict.
Do not threaten each other. Once I had a boy of 15 years old at the reception, whose parents scandal every day and have absolutely no control over their speech. He was very scared when he heard: “I’ll turn your face into porridge now” and “If you don’t shut up, I will throw myself out the window”. So it was almost his whole life, and a painful lump of fear formed inside. The boy stopped leaving the house, refused to go to school and did not allow even a passing contact of his parents. You said and forgot, and the children perceived and remembered. Moreover, they vividly imagined what the parents promised and managed to get scared to death. You are adults, and you are able to think about what you are saying.
Another terrible mistake of many parents is the involvement of the child in the conflict. Often it sounds like “What do you say?” Or “And you are also against me!” So you put the child before the choice - one parent or the other. In general, in family life, a discussion with a child of one of the parents in the “neOK” format should be taboo. The choice between parents is always unbearable for the child and causes great trauma. If you were a victim of such a choice - I am sure you still remember this. This means that the wound still hurts. To protect the child from such an experience, resist the temptation to draw him to your side.
The eighth rule
Do not deny the conflict. Every child has a natural sensitivity to emotions around him. And even if you do not say anything to him about what is happening - he feels it, believe me. And the older, the greater the insult will be denial. It hurts, is scary and very angry when the child hears “What seemed to you, everything is fine with us” when asked “What happened?” He still won’t believe it. But he will suffer, seeking his own guilt and responsibility for what is happening "nothing." It’s better to explain that a conflict has occurred, but together you are trying to find a solution.
- conflicts must be normalized as a phenomenon;
- Your conflict should be healthy and set an example of how you can defend your point of view in a civilized manner;
- conflict is a contact between people, but not ignorance;
- the conflict should be either out of sight of the child, or be understandable to him;
- the child should remain with the feeling that adults are able to resolve the conflict themselves and are responsible for it (but no “do not go, adults will figure it out” - only through an explanation);
- A child is a zone of neutrality.
It will not be easy to put these recommendations into practice, but I am sure that for you the safety of the child is most important.
/ The article is published in the publication “Mirrors of the Week”: https://zn.ua/family/pravila-zaschity-detey-vo-vremya-semeynyh-konfliktov-284893_.html /