Tag Archives: decision making in conflict


Creative Resolution of Different Conflicts


It is a fact of life that whenever two or more people gather, there will be disagreements.  Once people accept the fact that conflict is a natural, normal, and inevitable part of life, they need to learn what attitudes are helpful in dealing with different kinds of conflicts.  It is important to understand that conflicts are not all the same.  Some kinds of conflicts involve safety risks and must be handled immediately while others barely cause a ripple in the day.

When facing conflicts that involve safety, it is important for adults to quickly make the right decision and act to keep everyone safe.  Many conflicts between children and parents fit in this category.  With children, situations will arise in which parents are able to see the broader picture including risks, while the child may see only the toy s/he wants right now.  For young children this might be a ball rolling into a street, and the child wants to go get it.  Older children might want to go places with friends or on their own before parents are confident of their ability to make good decisions to keep themselves safe.  Another area of parent/child conflict might be a child wanting unrestricted use of the internet with parents understanding risks involved in this and insisting on supervising websites the children are exploring.

Other family disagreements may involve less risk.  As children grow they want more freedom, and parents look for evidence of maturity and responsibility before granting it.  This has been part of family life for hundreds of years as children have wanted to do things their parents didn’t approve.  Parents and children need to be sure to listen carefully to each other as they talk together about responsibilities and privileges.  Each should try to understand the reasoning and feelings of the other generation.  They can work together; as children show responsibility and skills at making good decisions, parents can grant more freedom.

People bring stronger feelings to some conflicts than to others.  Some people are  highly incensed that healthy people take advantage of challenged people, for example by parking in handicapped parking spaces.  Some may want to confront them.  Other people don’t feel as upset about that infraction, or some may realize that some  physical challenges are not very obvious.  One person might be unconcerned by something that causes a strong reaction in another person.  So each person’s reaction will depend on the intensity of the feeling about a situation.

Facing conflict creatively requires one to listen and try to understand “where the other person is coming from.”  In thinking about how you deal with conflict it is helpful to understand whether you put more value on relationships or having your way.  Working through conflict can help people learn more about themselves, grow in understanding of others, and heal relationships.Mediation Services of Adams County (MSAC) has trained mediators available to help people work through strained family relationships, disputes with neighbors, contractors, landlords, or other conflicts for an economical fee based on income.  If you would like more information about mediation, please contact Mediation Services of Adams County, 717-334-7312, mediationac@yahoo.com on line, or check out the website, http: //www.mediateadams.org.

Mary Kay Turner is a teacher, who is a trainer, mediator, and board member of MSAC.