Tips for Defusing relationship conflict

A hot-tempered man causes arguments but a patient man calms a quarrel

Proverbs 15:18

If you truly desire to find peace with your coparent you will need to give up blame and unforgiveness. However, is hard to know what to replace our destructive responses with when attempting to defuse conflict. There is much written on this, but a few tips may get you started on the right path for your situation:

  • Pray for God’s help before, during and after any potential conflict
  • Slow your responses down to avoid impulsive reactions
  • Avoid starting sentences with a “you” statement
  • Make sure your response is gentle versus aggressive
  • Breathe, don’t interrupt-just listen without thinking or speaking
  • If you must say something, ask for more information “Tell me more about this”
  • Come into any encounter with a goal of being kind even in the face of aggression
  • Resist correcting your co-parent on minor details
  • Pick your battle-to win the war for your child might mean losing a battle here and there
  • If you show anger or use a sharp tongue- quickly apologize and restate it in a constructive manner
  • Replace the word “but” with “and.”
  • Make your requests specific and behavioral when possible
  • Don’t take the bait when they blame, attack or distract you- Disengage from the mind game
  • Act respectful
  • Tell them they are right about something
  • Whenever possible find something to thank them for, even if it is simply listening
  • When necessary, set limits to protect yourself or child
  • If your limits are not respected calmly remove yourself
  • Focus on the problem not the person
  • Don’t reject any of your co-parent’s ideas just thank them for their ideas and present other options
  • Make your focus about your child rather than about your ego
  • Stay focused on the present not the past
  • Let them have the last word

Lord, I know you are always with me and for me. I know you also love my co-parent and our child. Help us to have a positive outcome or at least improved communication. Help me stand back and view the conflict from my co-parent’s perspective and Your perspective. Hold me close. Amen

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