What Are the First Two Questions Parents Should Ask When A Family Conflict Ignites?

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Incidents that can deflate or provoke our kids happen all the time. They wind up feeling unloved; we wind up feeling disrespected and like failures because we blew it again. Disappointingly, a small issue seems to grow into something much larger.

When the Family Crazy Cycle begins to spin, the issue—whatever you are disagreeing about—is becoming The Issue. Remember, the first step in decoding is to discern what is happening at two levels:

1. What is going on in my child’s heart?

2. What is going on in my heart, really?

When a child’s spirit deflates or erupts, a parent must ask, “Is my child feeling unloved?” When the parent’s spirit deflates or erupts, that parent must ask, “Am I feeling disrespected?”

If a child’s behavior has irritated or angered his parent to any degree, the parent must try to step back, look at the situation, and ask himself, “Why does this upset me, and why is my child upset? Why has a seemingly simple issue turned into a much bigger deal?” It may start out seeming to be about making a mess, refusing to go to bed, or getting in past curfew, but it soon escalates into something else that strikes deep into the heart of the child or parent or both.

- Emerson Eggerichs, PhD


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