Last weekend my twin daughters and I spent the weekend at Grace Church School in the Village for the awesome Girls Leadership Institute.
I was surprised to learn that girls’ friendships are their whole world. Hearing about the scenarios of the other girls reinforced this. In our role playing, there were many examples of small snubs that deeply, deeply hurt — like not being invited to a party. It is tough to be a kid!
One of my takeaways from the weekend was learning four steps to navigate a conflict.
1. Affirm the relationship
2. Use an “I statement”
3. Admit your contribution
4. Solve it together
I am pathologically nice and avoid conflict at all costs. So this was good for me. I realized that I skate over step #1. And #3 too. Somehow I never fail to notice and feel the wrongs done to me, but I may not always see or feel my contribution to a conflict. (Me? Perfect ole me?)
I have to acknowledge that, “In 99% of arguments, both sides somehow contributed to the conflict…” That blew my mind. Everyone is always quick to blame others. But realizing that we each have a role in the conflict may make the solution more accessible.
At times, I felt a little strained in the workshop, because I was the only parent there with twins. The twelve or so other mothers all had just one daughter to intensely talk with or role play with. I was trying, as I always do, to be fair and distribute my attention equally. The facilitators were supportive and sometimes worked with one of the girls one-on-one, but I don’t think they were used to twins with one parent.
All in all, it was a totally excellent weekend. We learned a lot and we are already implementing it around the house (although their big brother is a bit dismissive (maybe he’s a little jealous?)) I think I need to affirm that relationship with my son, maybe even use an ‘I statement,’ admit my contribution, and then we can solve it together. That will be fun.