Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 2 (2 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   5 comments

Life Arts

The Danger of Compromise

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H4 2/26/12

Become a Fan
  (3 fans)


Picture a stand-off between multiple parties.

Perhaps it is between representatives of two nations sitting across a long polished table as they butt heads over a piece of land, or perhaps it is between red-faced members of an organization fighting over a budget item, voices raised, or maybe its kids on a grassy field arguing about which game to play.

In our case, this morning, it was between our 9 yr old son (on sofa, arms crossed, body tight, face scowling) and his dad (on living room rug, visibly slowing down his breathing to be "patient," feet planted firmly).

As with most such cases, the disagreement is initially played out not at the level of intentions, values or underlying needs (safety, choice, consideration) but at the level of STRATEGIES or actions (my son wants to eat his Top Food Choice for breakfast; we want him to eat Third Food Choice, so I could pack Top Food Choice for his school lunch; we have been out of Second Food Choice for a couple of days now).

It may or may not help you to know that, because our son's diet is severely limited by health considerations, balancing tastiness, variety and nutrition in his meals can be a challenge in our family. Or that my husband is working hard, right now, to be "patient" and engage in (and model) nonviolent, non-coercive approaches to conflict.

The bottom line is that there is always a story. Both sides have unmet needs and, often, underlying tensions on which the conflict seems to build. And that is exactly the point I want to make today.

THE COMPROMISE

As with many stand-offs, large and small, the clock in our home this morning was ticking, and our son seemed deeply entrenched in his position -- giving things a simultaneous sense of semi-urgency and semi-hopelessness.

Thus, my husband, with the intention of showing kindness and sowing harmony, offered a compromise. He'd make a quick run to the grocery store for Second Food Choice and our son would (a) eat Second Food Choice and (b) work on getting himself together to where he could speak to us respectfully again.

Waiting for my husband to return from the store I puttered around the kitchen, silent and brooding. My lived experience -- and my understanding of conflict through years of studying Non Violent Communication and Restorative Circles (a particular restorative justice practice developed by Dominic Barter in the Brazilian favelas) -- told me that this would not be the panacea we hoped for.

THE DANGER OF COMPROMISE

Sure enough, after having gotten Second Choice, as agreed upon, my son attacked his sister over a small act, using a sarcastic and angry tone with her that left her confused and pouty. Hearing our son speak rudely to his sister after the trouble he had gone to that morning, my husband now erupted in anger.

Pausing everyone I spoke about what I was seeing.

"Hey guys!" I said, "I am guessing you both believe, right now, that you did a favor for the other. Is that true?"

"Well, yes," my son said as though that was obvious. "I am doing you guys a favor by eating what I did not want to eat."

Next Page  1  |  2

 

http://www.ImproveCommunication.net

Elaine Shpungin, Ph.D. is a student and practitioner of Non Violent Communication (NVC) and Restorative Circles (RC).

She is currently exploring restorative and non-violent approaches to conflict and ways to meaningfully share power in (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Five WikiLeaks Myths and their Disturbing Truth

Speaking While Upset: Moving from Destructive to Constructive in 6 Simple Steps

3 Steps that Transform Sibling Conflict into Sibling Camaraderie

Avatar: Tantalizing Possibilities Laced With Disappointment

The Most Important Thing to Know About Conflict

The Key to Getting the Relationship and Love You Want

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

First you must establish an equality and only afte... by Mark Sashine on Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 2:54:00 PM
Yes, I agree that equality is necessary for buildi... by Elaine Shpungin on Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012 at 11:07:00 AM
Children do not have the same levels of logic and ... by Doc McCoy on Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 9:30:57 PM
Yes, I see how the article also winds up touching ... by Elaine Shpungin on Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012 at 11:42:00 AM
which is successful requires focus being placed on... by Doc McCoy on Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012 at 12:25:52 PM