Fighting the good fight: we should engage our children in conflict from time to time

We all want a healthy relationship with our children, but at the same time, we can struggle with the conflict of, well, conflict. While we may want a quiet life, we still have to lay down the law so our children know what is right and wrong, but this means we've got to learn how to say no to our kids. And in life, there are some big conflicts that we will have with our children, but we have to know that these little battles will benefit our relationship with the kids in the long-term.

Starting Them Young
We can feel tempted to give up with something as banal as teeth brushing. After all, they say that you don't really have to worry about your children's teeth until they turn 3, but if you can take advantage of the situation when they're young, and get them into the habit of brushing their teeth, even if it's a superficial practice, this gets them into the habit of brushing and you can then focus on making their skills better in this department. Sometimes, it's about certain concessions, especially if we are in a rush in the mornings, and while we can feel that we don't have to worry about this when they are toddlers, it's this attitude that we'll have difficulty breaking. Making it a habit now, even if it is just a quick brush and some fluoride varnish, will at least ensure that their teeth are healthy to an extent. And brushing their teeth should be a twice-daily habit, so this is the perfect opportunity to start engaging our children in those battles that we could be so tempted to give up on.

Not Following The Herd
As your children get older, they will come home from school wanting a specific brand of product, no matter how expensive it is. Once we give in to this, they start to push it further and further until we demand the need for a quiet life, and placate them with these presents. But, the buck stops with us. In life, it's easier to say yes, but at the same time, we don't want our children to feel intimidated by other kids in school because they haven’t got a certain item. This is where compromise comes into play. You don't necessarily have to say no, but it's about seeing it from their point of view, and then seeing it from yours, which is something we don't always address with our children. This is especially true for those parents that say no, and further clarify this with a “because I said so”. This is not a justifiable reason!

As far as engaging our children in conflict is concerned, we have to remember that this form of conflict can help our children prepare for the big wide world. And at the same time, it hammers the point home for us, that we don't need to say “yes” and give them what they want all of the time. Because we've all seen those children who get everything they want, and it's not pretty!

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