First I want to talk about resolution: what it is and what it looks like. Relationship counselors used to talk about compromise as the best way to solve problems. The other options are I win/You lose or I lose/You win so I win/You win seemed to be much better. The problem is that with compromise you also have I lose/You lose. The reason for this is both parties to the conflict come to the table with their goals and solution and then you play the game of give and take until you find a compromise you can both agree to (a little of your idea and a little of mine). Resolution is better.In conflict resolution both (or all) parties to a problem come together with no ideas that they are fighting for or defending as the ideal solution. Together you sit down and take certain steps that will, ideally, lead you to a solution that is considered the best by all involved. It is truly I win/You win and no one loses. So, let’s look at the steps involved.
1) Identify the problem. This might seem obvious but when you start examining it you may find that different people see the problem from different angles and your definition of the problem may be too narrow. This is the time you learn to see the situation from the perspective of the others involved. When the others are young children you will need to explore your imagination and try to get into their world in order to examine how they might see the problem. This will increase your sensitivity to your child and doing it often enough will actually result in less conflict that you need to work on resolving.
2) Brainstorm solutions. During this step you are not passing any judgment on the solutions put forth. Write down everything said and say everything that comes to your mind. Every solution is worthy of being considered and the wilder the better because that is helping you start to think outside the box. If you only put forth the reasonable or logical ideas you will often overlook the ideal solution.
3) Evaluate solutions. Now that you have a list of possible solutions you go back and evaluate them. Talk about each one and think through to how it will work in reality. Some ideas will obviously not be feasible or practical; some will be downright silly. Now is the time to note all of that and narrow down your list. You may find your list lacking and go back to do some additional brainstorming, or you may refine a solution that is close but not quite.
4) Select a solution. You may find you have one or two reasonable solutions but during this step you narrow it down to the one you will try. Everyone involved must agree on the solution you will try but this will be easier once people understand the last step (which we’ll get to after . . .)
5) Execute the solution. It’s time to put it into practice and see how it works. If it solves the problem then your work is done. If it doesn’t, you still have one more step.
6) Have a planned time to evaluate the solution chosen. Make sure you meet again to discuss how the solution is working. If everyone reports they are happy with the solution then you can continue using it until when and if it isn’t working or some new problem arises. If there was more than one possible solution you may choose to try the next favored idea and repeat steps 5 and 6. If the chosen solution didn’t work but there were no other solutions put forth you may go back to the beginning of the steps and try again.