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Healthy Conflict Resolution

Two campers looking at each other

As parents, we wear a lot of hats … chauffeur, chef, teacher, nurse, and my least favorite … referee. Kelli walks us through scripture teaching us how to handle conflict resolution in our own lives so we can then teach our kids to do the same.


My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

James 1:19-20


A day does not go by without a misunderstanding, a quarrel, and sometimes even a flat-out fight in our family.  Because conflicts are a daily occurrence, we have the abundant opportunity to teach how to handle them well. 

As a child, I learned how to avoid or survive conflict with my sisters, friends, and roommates. As I matured in age I fell into avoiding or merely surviving it with coworkers and even my marriage. 

As an adult, I am learning how to resolve conflict.   I am discovering tools providing healthier relationships and foundations to model for my children.  I can’t say I enjoy conflict resolution just yet.  But I can say I sure enjoy the results.  Working through conflict in healthy ways is worth it for everyone involved.

  1. Quick to Listen.  It’s been said we were given two ears and one mouth, so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.  That is good advice …. especially when approaching conflict.  It is natural for our defenses to rear up and want to tell our side.  But it is helpful for us to simply listen.  “Help me understand” is a great way to start moving towards resolving conflict.  All too often, when we seek to understand everyone’s thoughts and hurt, we understand their actions.  A solution, healing and peace begin while listening.
  2. Slow to Speak.  Philippians 4:8 gives us a great filter to send our words through before we speak.  Ask if the words we are thinking are “true, right, noble, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, praise worthy.”  And if they are … then speak them.  But slow down … think about what is being said to the person we care about.  Like an open bag of feathers in a windstorm, we can never retrieve our words.  Let’s be slow to speak.
  3. Slow to become angry.  Take deep breaths.  Go for a quick run.  Put yourself in timeout.  Do what it takes to pause before anger takes over.  While pausing, talk to God.  Remember it is a good idea to overlook minor offenses (Proverbs 19:11).

The Watermark Conflict (Our Constant Opportunity) Field Guide is a great resource in learning to practice healthy, conflict resolution.  Peace is worth pursuing…especially with those we care about the most! 

Camper Corner

What is the hardest part to do:  be slow to speak, quick to listen or slow to anger?  Why do you think that is?

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