Tips for Parents
Talking With Your Student About Effective Confrontation
Research has shown that confronting peers can be tricky for today's generation. As your student and his peers settle into the school year and get more comfortable with one another, it's likely that some conflicts will occur. When you get that phone call that a conflict is brewing, you can help your student see the many benefits of confrontation, especially when it's done well.
Consider sharing the following with your student to ensure he is as effective — and comfortable — as possible when confronting his peers this year:
- Reframe your thinking surrounding confrontation to the idea of "carefronting." "Carefronting" an incident involves considering the individual's feelings and role in the situation. It also involves demonstrating a level of care during the confrontation, no matter what the circumstances.
- Remember to be sincere during confrontations. Sincerity can be demonstrated by asking questions that can help you understand where the person is coming from in his thinking. This can also let the person know that he is important to you regardless of the scenario.
- Keep in mind your non-verbal communication when addressing incidents.
- Tone of voice: using a calm, soothing tone rather than sarcasm or anger
- Rate of speech: speak more slowly so the situation isn't escalated, rather than with fast-paced speech
- vocal inflection: speak as if you are having a conversation rather than lecturing
- Body posture, hand gestures and facial expressions: keep your body relaxed, arms at your side and a positive look (not a smirk) on your face
- Eye contact: make sure you are not looking away, but also not staring at him
- In the heat of the moment, it's sometimes easy to forget that this interaction could affect the way that you and the person interact for the rest of the year or longer. You can see why it is important to treat the individual with respect and most importantly, care.
- Once the confrontation is over and you and the person have come to a solution, move forward. Now's the time to rebuild the relationship, not rehash the conflict time and time again.
As you well know, conflict is a natural part of life. Conflict itself can be really positive in that it helps people grow. It's our reactions to conflict that often cause the most problems. Reminding your student of the tips shared above can help him be successful this year.
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