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Guide for parents f


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This brochure was realised during the Grundtvig Partnership for Learning project SCHOOL MED. The project was financially sustained by the European Commission but the European Commission can not be made responsible for the content of this material.

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Guide for parents f

  1. 1. Guide for Parents In Conflict Resolution This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein
  2. 2. 2 Content Introduction................................................................................................ 3 What is a conflict ....................................................................................... 4 Misconceptions and facts about conflicts.................................................. 5 Behaviour in conflict situations................................................................. 7 Short suggestions to parents for conflict resolution .................................. 9 Conclusion ............................................................................................... 11
  3. 3. 3 Introduction The “Guidefor Parents” was completed as a result of the project “SchoolMed” within the Lifelong Learning Programme. This project meant to raise awareness of adult learners on the theme of conflict by addressing problematic situations that occur in educational settings. School administrators, staff assistance, teachers, parents, were the direct target as well as the students were also the final beneficiaries. School Med was an initiative oriented to design a range of handy intervention strategies through two – years international collaboration in the field of mediation. The project involved several organizations from the European countries. These were AssociazioneCulturaleAssodeon (Italy), Baltic Franchise Foundation (Latvia), LiceoClassicoStatale “QuintoOrazioFlacco” (Italy), M. C. Argonauts Business Development LTD (Cyprus) and ColegiulTehnic Gheorghe Cartianu (Romania). One of the objectives of the intervention strategy within the project was the creation of the“Guide for Parents in Conflict Resolution”. The Guide provides parents wide–ranging tools and practical guidelines that can be adapted to different contexts. The content of the Guide is designed to help to improve conflict resolution and preventionskills as well as to contribute in making harmonic life without conflicts.
  4. 4. 4 What is a conflict? A term “conflict” is often defined by words like “quarrel”, “dispute”, “dissent”, “fight”, “war” referring to the presence of verbal disputes, assaults and violent acts. Interpersonal conflict involves presence of two or more parties (individuals or groups), existence of real or just perceived differences, incompatibilities in the goals, needs, individual characteristics, emergence of tensions. A conflict is also a natural part of normal social life that cannot be eradicated from human interactions. According to a constructive approach it can become a factor of social change and personal development. Many parties may be involved in conflicts in educational settings. Conflicts between childrenmay be based on unfair affirmation at any cost, envy, mutual antipathy, discrepancies of character, fighting for dominance in a group, inappropriate expressions of emotions, misuse of power by the teacher, etc. Children and parents may have conflicts about habits and lifestyles. They may have different opinions and ways of communicating and expressing themselves. These differences can lead to a conflict. Conflicts between teachers and children may be based on multiple causes, including blockages of communication, discrepancies between the system of criteria used in evaluating teachers and students, between norms and values etc. Parentscan try to protect their children, which may cause them to attack verbally at another child's parents in defence of their own. Conflicts betweenteachers and parents may have such main causes as poor communication or misunderstandings due to the small number of contacts during the study process. Parents may also have prejudices based on their past experiences. Conflicts between teachers may be a struggle to obtain benefits, managerial positions or affirmation etc. Resolved in a constructive way, the conflict can lead to better problem–solving skills and decision-making. It can lead to improved relations and increased social integration.
  5. 5. 5 Misconceptions and facts about conflicts Behaviour in conflict situations and thinking of dealing with them may include widespread misconceptions or myths what are not related to reality. They may make conflict resolution complicated. There are some of such myths or misconceptions and corresponding facts.1 Misconceptions Facts 1. Conflict is always a sign of a poor interpersonal relationship. It is an oversimplified to assume that all conflict is rooted in underlying relational problems. Conflict is a normal part of any interpersonal relationship. The free expression of honest disagreement is often a hallmark of healthy relationships. Assertively and honestly expressing ideas may mean that a person feels safe and comfortable enough with his or her partner to disagree. As we will discuss later, conflict in interpersonal relationships can play a constructive role in leading the couple to focus on issues that may need attention. The ebb and flow of interpersonal psychological intimacy and separation inevitably lead to some degree of conflict in any relationship. When conflict happens in your relationships, don’t immediately assume that the relationship is doomed. 2. Conflict can always be avoided. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Many of us were taught early in our lives that conflict is undesirable and that we should eliminate it from our conversations and relationships. Yet evidence suggests that conflict arises in virtually every relationship. Because each of us has a unique perspective on our world, it would be extraordinary for us always to see eye to eye with another person. One study found that most romantic couples have some kind of disagreement or conflict on average about twice a week. Although such conflicts may not be intense, many differences of opinion punctuate our relationships with people we care about. Research suggests that contentment in marriage relates not to the amount of conflict, but to the way in which partners manage it. Conflict is also a 1 Beebe, S.A., Beebe, S.J., Redmond, M.V. (2005).Interpersonal communication. Relating to others. Boston: Pearson. P.221–222.
  6. 6. 6 normal and productive part of interaction in group deliberations. It is a myth that conflict is inherently unproductive and something to be avoided. It happens, even in the best of relationships. 3. Conflict always occurs because of misunderstandin gs. “You just don’t understand what my days are like. I need to go to sleep!” shouts Janice as the scoops up a pillow and blanket and stalks off to the living room. “Oh, yeah?” Well, you don’t understand what will happen if I don’t get this budget in!” responds Rom, who is hunched over the desk in the bedroom. It is clear that Ron and Janice are having a conflict. They have identified the cause of their problem and a lack of understanding between them, but in reality they do understand each other. Ron knows that Janice wants to sleep; Janice knows he wants to stay up and work. Their problem is that they disagree about whose goal is most important. The disagreement, not lack of understanding, is the source of the conflict. 4. Conflict can always be resolved. Consultants, corporate training experts, and authors of self – help books often offer advice about how to resolve conflicts so that all will be well and harmony will prevail. Some people claim that with the application of a few skills and how-to techniques, conflicts can disappear like a stain from a shirt laundered with the right kind of detergent. This is simply not true. Not all differences can be resolved by listening harder or paraphrasing your partner’s message. Some disagreements are so intense and the perceptions so fixed that individuals may have to agree to disagree and live with it. 5. Conflict is always bad. It’s a common fantasy to dream of eliminating all interpersonal conflict from relationships. It would be bliss, we think, if we could live without disagreement, hassle, haggling and tension. But conflict is a healthy component of relationships. In fact, if a relationship is conflict-free, the individuals are probably not being honest with each other. Although it can be destructive, conflict can also help us identify issues that need further discussion and lead to negotiations that give us fresh insights into the relationship.
  7. 7. 7 Behaviour in conflict situations K. W. Thomas and R. H. Kilmann (K. W. Thomas and R. H. Kilmann, 1974)identified and described behaviour in conflict situations. 2 The choice of behaviour can be related to the concern for others and the concern for oneself. 3 These two dimensions result in five types of behaviour in conflict situations: avoidance, accommodation, competition, compromise and collaboration. 2 Mayer, B. (2009). Staying with conflict: a strategic approach to ongoing disputes. San Francisco: Johan Wiley & Sons, Inc. P.87. 3 Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., Redmond, M. V. (2005).Interpersonal communication. Relating to others. Boston: Pearson. P.231–236.
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  9. 9. 9 Short suggestions to parents for conflict resolution Conflicts can be solved in a better manner when people take into account important principles what can guide their attitude and behaviour. This part of the Guide provides pragmatic suggestions to parents for conflict resolution what involves their children and are related with educational settings. It helps to live harmonic life without conflicts. Suggestions to parents 1. Be patient; 2. Stay calm, control your emotions; 3. Repeat what is important to you; 4. Discuss only if it is important; 5. You are not always right; 6. Allow your children free time; 7. Learn the social environment from your children; 8. Let your children be independent and free of choice, don’t bond them with your expectations and desires; 9. Accept cultural, ethical, religious diversity; 10. Don’t cut children’s wings; 11. Be tolerant; 12. Support your children; 13. Understand others; 14. Express yourself and share your values; 15. Support children’s choices; 16. Dream together with your children; 17. Learn from your children; 18. Cooperate with the school; 19. Show your children – they are important to you; 20. Use young people’s interests for developing their abilities; 21. Listen and be silent when others are speaking;
  10. 10. 10 22. Be positive and proactive in your communicationwith children; 23. Sense of humor: make a joke about yourself before laughing about others; 24. Support children in being self–confident; 25. Take time, don’t ask for immediate answers; 26. Respect needs and opinions of your children; 27. Try to share a common project of life with your children; 28. Respect the values of your children and their personality; 29. Make children responsible: every person in a family has responsibilities; 30. Respect the rules and the rules are the same for children and parents; 31. Give roots to children when they are small and give them wings when they grow up; 32. Don’t criticize; 33. Don’t change the rules; 34. Respect and support the choices of children.
  11. 11. 11 Conclusion The experiencesof conflict resolution and preventionmade by SchoolMed project partners in different countries were collected and combined in this Guide. It is a suite of pragmatic suggestions to support those who work with conflict resolution to solve possible conflicts. However, the Guide is not intended to replace either the specific tools available in different countries or training for those working to improve communication between students, teachers, and parents. For development of the Guide the types of conflicts that arise between various actors in the local community were identified. Through the comparison of different experiences during two years collaboration intervention strategies were set and negotiated. These strategies allow people managing the detected conflicts more effectively and help in conflict prevention. Project partners contributed to the promotion of the culture of mediation as growth and learning moment. The initiative was also important to learn from what is done in other countries in order to implement good practice.