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Narelle Brigden

Providing Supportive Counselling Services

My Blog


Fighting Fair

Posted on 3 March, 2013 at 18:56
How to Fight Fair

I've always believed that when parents adopt the "stop fighting" stance when their children are roughhousing or arguing, prevents teaching the "how to be in relationship with others" lesson.

Parents are often overwhelmed with the noise, frequency, inequality, velocity and viciousness of the fighting.  By instructing children to "stop fighting" may feel like an appropriate response to unacceptable behaviour that receives an immediate response.  It may work initially, however, the behaviour continues, the response becomes less and less effective and parents become exasperated with repeating themselves without success or progress.

By continuing this spiral, parents are missing the valuable opportunity to teach children to understand, empathise, listen, forgive and say those two hardest words, "I'm sorry".  Even more importantly, the lesson of demonstrating and learning how to patch relationships effectively after an argument when you are right and when you are wrong. In other words, teaching your child to "fight fair".

We all develop our communication style at these tender ages based on their relationships, modelling and experiences.  As we grow older, socially more acceptable ways are learnt in different environments such as school, work and their social groups, again using modelling and socially acceptable behaviour.  And in the same way and during this time, our life opinions are being formed, we are learning some valuable social lessons and we are discovered how we "fit in".  In other words, we are learning to navigate the relationship labyrinth of our external and internal worlds.

Many events along the way, jolt us, pull the rug out from under us, knock us of 6, etc and we find ourselves floundering and not knowing how to handle things, approach issues or confront difficult circumstances and people.  Why??  Because we were never learnt to "fight fair" and therefore, could never have learnt how to.

When these occur, we revert to our earliest style as a default position which could be name calling, isolation and exclusion of people, not talk/ignore, gossip about people, sabotage, ridiculing, etc.  We believe we are punishing the other person, when in actual fact - we just don't know what else to do. 

In the process our behaviour is being witnessed and judge by others ie "would she treat me like that if we had a falling out", "I didn't think he was capable of that", "she has some real issues - I think I'll start distancing myself from her", etc. 

Does these comments sound familiar? You may even  have had these type of thoughts with some of your own friends behaviours.  You may have sense these comments and judgements from your friends and family. 

Here below are some examples - see which one most describes you:

Example 1:

Do you feel as though some people are avoiding you, sense people are gossiping about you and feel unwanted in social situations?  You may be feeling like there is something wrong with you, or people don't like you or you're being tolerated.  


Example 2:

Have you found yourself in sticky situations, awkward relationships or difficult partnerships which continues because you don't know what else to do?  Have you found yourself gossiping, negative people consuming way too much of your time and thoughts? are you continuing friendships that should have ended long ago?  Are you avoiding people or ignoring people?   

The first example is generally the result of someone who is OVERT in their conflict style and second is the example of someone who is COVERT in their conflict style.  Both have the same affect - neither have their needs met.  On the surface, Example 1 may seem to be honest, pushy or direct and Example 2 may seem to be polite, respectful and honest, but really neither want to be this way in their relationships.

Because the relationships in your life are important, learn how to get your voice heard and establish healthy boundaries without being abrasive to another person. Become the person that you admire.

As humans, inevitably, we will disagree, have a differing opinion, come from another perspective, have opposing beliefs, like differing things, etc. and we will argue our point.  The way in which we address these determines how we carry ourselves into the future and learn behaviours that you can be personally and honestly proud of.

Learn how to access, process and address these issues and turn your relationships around.

As everyone has different styles and issues, I develop and tailor a detailed plan to address specific areas of improvement and development, call 0419 264 852 for a personal consultation.

Categories: Relationship Counselling

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