Wayne State University School of Social Work
Social Work 6991
Professor Pauline Everette
Conflict is everywhere we go, at home, school, church in the community and especially at work. How we decide to handle the conflict at hand will determine whether we strengthen the relationship or break it up. Each situation can be dealt with in a way that can bring healing instead of animosity and further pain. Most of the time conflict is looked at as a negative experience that most people refuse to be a part of because of their own lack of conflict management skills; but if both parties are willing to sit down and discuss the issue, there is a possibility of a positive resolution. If conflict is dealt with properly and successfully from the beginning then there will be a greater understanding from each individual involved and an increased likelihood of unity as well as an improved relationship. In this paper I will discuss difficult conversations I had with my son, John, (name change for confidentiality), when he was 16 years old, who is now 26. As a teenager I expect him to go through teenage issues, I expect conflict which is a natural part our interactions, and disagreements, but as a parent I must effectively address these conflicts/disagreements to improve our relationship and to promote growth. After experiencing these issues with John I have a to react based on the different individual personalities that arise with my two daughters who are both younger than John, as a matter of fact I have a 16 year old now. I now realize that conflict surfaces when individuals experience differences and disagree on perceptions, ideas, values, desires, and motivations. When strong feelings arise, a profound personal desire becomes the root of the dilemma, for instance to appear needed, a need for respect, or to experience security, protection, and safety. How these needs become satisfied varies with each individual and creates challenges in individual relationships or groups. I have learned since this incident that in order to resolve a dilemma, we must communicate. Communication is the key in all conflicts. I have learned to handle each situation in an assertive and responsible way so that each situation has advantageous outcomes. I have build a resolution between my children and me that includes independence, respect, and trust, which in turn has promoted a better personal relationship between us all. Finally I have learned that although feelings of frustration may occur, resolving the conflict or even reaching a median regardless of the difficulty, it is well worth it and improves my performance as a parent. This conflict involving my son and I display the “advantages” as described by Wilmot and Hocker, “it promotes a mutual stake in the resolution; solutions derived through the process are more likely to be carried out by the parties. The agreement is theirs, not imposed, and as a result there is no “loser”, who feels compelled to strike back. These parties created the conflict and they work for its solution.” (pg. 282) As we worked together to respect one another, as mother and son, talked out our difference to find a viable solution between the two of us; another “advantage” as noted in Wilmot and Hocker, “the solutions are more likely to be integrative and creative.” (pg. 282) In the end, all irrational thinking and intense negative emotions ended as a peaceful negotiation. The Difficult Conversations Guide
I.What happen? What is my story?
What happen was my 16-year-old son, John wanted to get bring his girlfriend over and entertain her in his bedroom, although he says to study together, (yeah right), he says “I’ll leave the door open”. My story is I do not believe, for one, he or she is old enough, and two this is disrespectful to me or his younger sisters and her to entertain female company in his bedroom of his parent’s home. A)My intentions...