Over the past few weeks there was one major conflict that I will discuss in this essay. It was an ongoing and detailed conflict which needed to be resolved through a mediation process. It all started the day that the children’s father decided not to show up for several visitations requirements.
I had felt that the constant disappointment was enough for the children so I text him a message to say not to bother picking up the children anymore. He did not like this and started to turn up to my doorstep late at night. He was quite angry and was bashing down the oor and yelling.I didn’t open the door I just rang the police as the children was scared by his reaction. The police had arrived after the children’s father left my house and I filed a police report to protect myself and the children from him coming to the house late at night and being abusive towards us. While the police was I was feeling very anxious and overwhelmed by the whole incident. I was talking quite quickly and very nervous, as I was fidgeting whilst telling them the details of what had happened.
At this stage I don’t think I handled my emotions at all ell as I was very flustered and couldn’t think properly. Whilst the police was here I did achieve the skill of active listening as they explained what I needed to do and how to go about doing it all. I didn’t interrupt as they was speaking as I usually do when people speak and I sat there taking it all in and didn’t respond until the police officer had spoken.Active listening has three purposes when managing conflict 1. To gain information, 2. To affirm and 3. To respond to inflammation and bring down high emotional states.
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We benefit from active listening because it nsures us that we are getting all the information that we need and so that we can be heard. I also repeated back to the police officer what she had said to me to make sure I had understood her correctly. At that stage I also reflected back on the situation with the police officer as to how I could of handled things a little bit better for example not to send text messages to him and only talk to him either in person or on the phone. This will also prevent any other person getting involved, and me insuring I’m only talking to him.At this stage my abilities to be assertive with their father was not done very well but I did manage to get my point across to the police. Assertive behaviour communicates feelings, needs and beliefs of a person. It is important to be assertive so they you can express your needs and others can have an opportunity to know how u feel.
In this conflict spoken about above, my conflict behaviour was fight: aggressive. I didn’t care about the fathers needs or concerns at this stage, as I thought I was doing the best for the children. I took the I win , u lose ituation to start with as I suppose if let like I had control over the situation , which is quite obvious I didn’t at the time.Then I took the flow: assertive as we took it to court and then was directed to undertake mediation to resolve this situation in a more reasonable way without the children present to hear any of it. In many of my conflicts throughout the past eight weeks I have always started with the Fight: aggressive behaviour (Holier, Murray & Cornelius H (2004). As Eunson (2007) explains different approaches in dealing with conflict, I then took a different pproach and went through the mediation process. As we moved on to the mediation process to resolve our dispute, I made sure I was focused; I knew what I wanted to say and was calm going into the mediation.
I needed to change my approach to this conflict in order to get the results that I wanted from it. As (Holier, Murray & Cornelius (2004) explains different approaches to conflict management and behaviours; I knew I need to go into it with an assertive approach. As with all mediation processes you need to let each other speak without interruption and listen to what is being said.We both had our turns in discussing our issues and both responded to each other’s issues in turn. My behaviour as assertive worked as my issues were discussed in great detail and we had made decisions to change things to suit everyone in the situation including the children. We stuck to what was important and dealt only with the issues that needed to be discussed. As the father has an extended family, I made it quite clear that his extended family has nothing to do with me and that my only concern was for my own children.
One of our main problems that we can’t resolve hings, is the father’s extended family gets dragged into our own issues with our children and that frustrates me as I don’t feel like it’s my concern. We both agreed that we need to work together and share the responsibility of our own children, regardless of our situation.I laid down what I wanted to protect my own children and spoke in great detail as to why I had these concerns. The father had listened to everything I said and had agreed with me about all the issues. It was the father’s turn to express his concern and to discuss the issues he had. I sat there nd listened to everything he had said and went through all his concerns one by one, on a couple issues I had to repeat back to him so that I was sure that I understood what he was saying. Also to make sure that I understood his concern and could respond to him appropriately.
I gave my feedback on his issues (using the techniques and hints for active listening set out in the text and of Fiona Hollier, Kerrie Murray and Helena Cornelius (2004), some hints are to put the focus of attention on the speaker and do not change the topic, give feedback on your feelings and the ontent, challenge attitudes such as powerless or hopelessness, enquire about the speakers needs, concerns, anxieties and also difficulties ), and how I felt that they would affect the children and also expressed the concerns of the children.The children also had previously discussed with me what they wanted and I expressed that to their father as well. For example the children felt they need more one on one time with him, as they feel they were competing for his attention over there as they are one of six children. I walked into the mediation calm and remained calm and focused throughout the ediation. I stuck with my direct points which I had previously set out before entering the mediation and didn’t drift off into unnecessary topics. I didn’t experience any anxiety like I had in the previous conflict and I was very open minded to get everything sorted and to fix the problems.By the end of the mediation I was content with the outcome and was relieved that it was all over, as the situation was dragging out for the past four months.
I was surprised at how well I had handled my emotions compared to the first situation and noticed that I had learnt a ew key skills to help me resolve my problems in the future. I was very assertive, I had said what I wanted and stuck to what I wanted not backing down. I was very clear and precise in what I wanted and what was in the best interest of the children. Although I had set out to get what I thought was best for the children, I was also reasonable about the decisions made for example if my children was sick I would take them back early, as the father has six children all under the age of nine in his house. To be fair I agreed, as my children would probably prefer to be home if they were sick anyway.Looking over both conflict situations and how both had ended and how I reacted in both, I can see that my first approach, fight: aggressive was not the best way to handle the situation. I didn’t foresee what the outcome would be; I only looked at the moment.
To improve the situation I should have spoke to the father either via phone or in person to discuss my concerns not via text messages. I also could have stayed calm and not yell back at him even though he was yelling at me. I also should have asked him as to why he wasn’t picking the hildren up and find out the reason for this so that I could determine if it was going to be an ongoing thing or there was a reasonable reason as to why he couldn’t make it. My main skill that I needed to work on in the first conflict would be my listening skills, as it took me to go through mediation to be aware that I need to stop and listen then reflect on the situation at hand.Realising there are both sides to all situations and to make an educated decision and one that is fair for both parties, you need to listen and understand the other party’s side in order to make a air decision. Also as discussed in the module, controlling your emotions plays a big part in any dispute resolution. How you express them is very important and to be able to stay in control of them.
I have learnt that controlling my anger does make for a better outcome and one that is less stressful for everyone. Also having control over my anxiety makes a lot of difference to me physically. Sitting down and making a few key points to the situation at hand instead of responding straight away, also gives you a more objective view to the situation. In any other onflict situations that I come across I will be sure to listen to the other side and see how it affects them. Then sit back and reflect as to how it will affect me and come up with answers calmly and be assertive with my decision, as well as taking in how the other party feels. To control my anger in future conflicts and not necessarily respond negatively to the situation, as I have realised there is a positive to every situation. You just need to see the situation for what it is and stay on that topic not direct it off into unnecessary topics which are not relevant to the situation.
Making sure I understand the other person point of view is also something to work on in the future as there may be underlining problems that I’m not aware of at the time of conflict which could make what I say worse rather than better. Now I try to take a step back and look at the situation from both sides in order to understand the whole position. I also can see how responding to a situation to soon without looking at everything can make a simple situation turn into something more than what it needs to be, so now I always look and take a deep breath then respond calmly to things.Overall my change in attitude and being assertive benefited me, as the problems were solved. By being assertive my concerns were heard and discussed. Both our feelings and the children’s feelings were heard and taken into account on every concern we both had. Active listening helped us to be able to listen to each other and understand how we both felt, it also gave us the ability to stop and think about the situation then respond back correctly instead of just responding with little information about what was actually going on.References Holier, F, Murray K & Cornelius H (2004 Eunson, B (2007) Conflict management Brisbane
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