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Holiday Shopping List: Gift-Giving Made Easy for the Peace Lover in Your Life

shopping-565360_1920The holiday season is creeping into stores earlier, and earlier it would seem. By Thanksgiving, you almost feel like you are behind on your Christmas shopping. Well for this post we have compiled a list of our top gift choices for the peace in your life. Christmas shopping doesn’t have to be stressful, give a gift to bring peace and resolve conflict to your loved ones!

Holiday Shopping List

Books:

Minibük® Stop the Dreaded Drama: 55 Tips for Ending Destructive Conflict

Author: Pattie Porter

Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Author: Thich Nhat Hanh

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

Author: Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen, forward by Roger Fisher

Being Relational: The Seven Ways to Quality Interaction and Lasting Change

Author: Louise Senft and William Senft

Stories Mediators Tell

Author: Eric R. Galton and Lela P. Love

Games:

Conflict Resolution 6″ Thumball

Smart Sharks – Art of the Deal: Conflict Resolution Card Game

Wish Deck

Movies:

Endgame

Starring: William Hurt and Chiwetel Ejiofor

Freedom Writers

Starring: Hilary Swank and Patrick Dempsey

The Interrupters

Directed by Alex Kotlowitz and Steve James

Have a safe and happy holiday!

 

Abigail R. C. McManus M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management

Apprentice

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When the Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree- Tips and Strategies on How to Change your Default Settings

brainearserPrior to becoming privy to the constructive ways to approach, manage and resolve conflict, I handled disputes in the same manner of my parents. My parents always confronted conflict and to get their points across to one another they would yell. When I was younger, I promised myself that I would handle conflicts differently when I was in a relationship. However, when my fiancé and I got into our very first fight, what did I do? I confronted him, and I yelled. My fiancé did not know how to handle this situation and recoiled because he grew up in a different setting, where his parents did not confront their conflict head on and never yelled at one another.

I observed something about how we tackled conflicts from this situation; everyone has, what I like to call a default setting. A person’s default setting is how you instinctively respond to the conflict that typically mirrors your parents or the environment where you were raised. Anyone can change his or her settings with hard work though it may be difficult at first. Once I started in the Negotiations and Conflict Management program at the University of Baltimore, I began to incorporate the tools and skills I learned in class and applied them to my life.

What can you do to change your default setting?

  • Acknowledge that you have a default setting and be honest with yourself about your conflict management shortcomings. We like to deny certain truths and put the blame on others regarding our inadequacies. When I would shout at my fiancé, saying it was his fault I was yelling. If I were honest with myself, I would have recognized that I resembled my parent’s way of handling conflict. I chose to yell because that was the only way I thought he would hear me.
  • Clear up misunderstandings by checking assumptions. We all see, hear, and interpret the world differently. We make assumptions about what is or isn’t being said and rarely ask for clarification. My parents could have easily resolved many of their arguments if they had asked for clarification and not assumed. Similarly, in my relationship, we would jump to conclusions or make assumptions about what the other person was saying or thinking which caused most of our disputes. Now, before I get upset I will say, “When you said you would take out the trash in a little bit, what did you mean by a little bit?”
  • Reframe and state your emotions. Emotions are what cause conflicts to escalate. My parent’s arguments were highly emotional because both of them would be angry, annoyed, hurt, etc. My fiancé and I’s arguments were always emotional because I can be overly sensitive. I would yell because I was mad, or cry because I was frustrated. In the book Difficult Conversations, by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen, I learned “I feel” statements. Using these statements helps you to acknowledge and take ownership of the emotion rather than placing the blame on the other person. Now I say, “ I feel frustrated that the trash hasn’t been taken out” rather than yelling, “You said you would take the trash out over an hour ago.”
  • Don’t automatically get defensive. Many times, we anticipate a fight, so we begin to put the boxing gloves on before we have the conversation. My dad dawdles when he knows my mom is mad, and he has to go home to face her. Anytime my fiancé and I were going to have a serious discussion; I would anticipate what he would say and plan my comebacks. Now, I go into every situation where a conflict could occur, reminding myself that we are teammates, not opponents.

While I do not believe our default setting entirely goes away, with perseverance we can challenge our default settings and create better and healthier habits to address conflict.

Abigail Clark M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management

Apprentice

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