Getting Real With Jennifer Poole

We have talked about how to open the lines of communication to address a conflict but now we want to move forward to resolving that conflict. First, list each person’s needs. Second, brainstorm all kinds of possible solutions. Third, go back and analyze the ideas and see if one or a combination of some will work. List out the solution including who will do what by when. Agree to review it again in a few weeks to tweak any details.

Using our messy house example we would do the following.

Her needs – help with housework and kids
His needs – time to decompress after work.

Possible solutions – Hire maid, mom quit job and stay home, let the house be a mess, dad gets to just zone out all night, mom makes dinner while dad relaxes and then he does dishes, make an assigned chore list, one parent take care of house while other takes care of kids.

We could go on for awhile with ideas. Going back through we can see that some of these are not reasonable and would not be a “win-win” for both parties. So hopefully they would be able to work out a solution based on the ideas of one cooks and the other cleans etc. They should write out the specifics and their expectations of each other and even consequences if appropriate. After a few weeks of trying out the new plan they should go back over the details to address any flaws, loopholes etc.

I have done this with my spouse and my children and posted it on the refrigerator. All parties get a chance to be part of the solution which greatly increases the success of the resolution. My kids know exactly what happens if they don’t hold up their end of the agreement.

Start by trying it out on things like deciding where to go on summer vacation or determining how to spend the tax refund so you will be ready to use the process on things like chores, curfew, video games etc.