>Need Your Advice

randomlychad  —  March 15, 2011 — 10 Comments

>Conflict Resolutionphoto © 2005 Mike Merrill | more info (via: Wylio)

My wife and I are currently faced with a difficult challenge that must be handled delicately, but must be handled. You see, we have some very good friends that are going through some hard times, while we understand–we don’t want to add to their burdens–it seems that every time we get together, one of their children hits one of ours. In fact, this last week, this same child hit our child in the head with a rock because their child didn’t want ours talking anymore. Instead of using words, the child used a stone. And as I said this little one has hit our little one before.

Added to this, is their older child making verbal threats of violence–whether joking, or not–against our older child (“Wanna go, boy? Who could leave you upside down crying in garbage can?”). This rhetoric is disturbing because it’s so oft-repeated.

This is very distressing to us. We know that our friends are having a tough go of it right now, but we’re concerned that perhaps their children aren’t learning the best conflict resolution skills. (Now I’m not saying that our kids are angels–far from it–but by-and-large they don’t go around hitting (even each other) to resolve disputes.

My wife, as a mama bear, is much more distressed than I am about all this, and has begun wondering, rather than getting this out in the open–which, to some degree, we’ve tried to do in the past–whether it would be best to change churches. I love our church, and would much rather not.

We’re in between a rock and a hard place on this, and are unsure of the best course of action moving forward.

This is where you come in. We need your advice. What would you do? What is the best course of action? What do you recommend?

(Note: I intentionally left out any identifying details above to protect, and respect, our friends’ privacy).




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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers.

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  • Diana~

    I don't find this to be a delicate situation at all considering your child has been physically attacked (with a rock ) and your older child is being bullied with verbal abuse. No wonder mama bear is distressed over this… it's a mama bear's nature to protect her young. If the parents of these misbehaved children SEE with their own eyes what their kids are doing and say NOTHING to stop it…. here is your solution:

    Bend your knees until you are eye to eye and face to face with one or both kids. Simply and with loving words tell them that if they do not want to play nicely with your children … just to say so and not use rocks or cruel words ever again. Tell them that gown ups do not use mean words or fight when they get together. And yes, you should do this in front of the parents to show you and your wife are not the type of parents who condone this behavior in your lives.

    if by chance, these parents might take offense to you speaking with 'their ' children… again just simply say… We love spending time with you and your family but we can't go home each time we get together with one of our kids either hit or spoken to cruelly. We talked to your children out of love…they same we we speak to our own children and we would hope that if our kids were ever out of place… we would want you to bring it to our attention because our friendship means so much to us.

    By showing and speaking with a calm, nurturing and loving tone… you are displaying an example to your OWN children who will thus respect, admire and use your tact/diplomacy in the future.

    Oh and i forgot the MOST important thing!!! Anytime I have to 'confront' a situation, I have learned that before i open my mouth…. I pray. I ask God to give me the right words to express so the person I need to convey a concern to… is open and takes it with love.

    • Hey, thanks, Diana! Good advice!

  • Baseball bats tend to get people's attentionl. 🙂 Really, though, prayer and discernment. Quitting/leaving is usually not the best answer in these situations. Maybe discussing with a pastor or other confidential person that knows the family better to determine the best course of action. It is indeed a tough situation.
    My recent post Profiled by Girl Scout Cookies

    • Thanks, Matt! Sounds like the voice of experience speaking. 

    • Thanks, Matt. That sounds like the voice of experience speaking there.

  • Michelle

    I like Diana's response, and this is something I would do myself. If it continues I would be inclined to not have the kids together -- for your kids safety. If I had to do that I would probably have a 'couple's date' (no kids) and say you've noticed their kids seem to struggle with conflict with your kids and was there anything you can do.

    Prayer, prayer is big also in all scenarios.

    • I agree, and my wife and I have been praying. 

    • Thanks, Michelle! We've been praying right along, and will seek time to sit down with them to work it out.

  • Chad, I would tend to concur with Diana. Thankfully we live in area and run with a group of church folks that generally have a “it takes a village” approach and don't haven issues with others giving council to each other's children. We do this when observe children exhibiting behavior we know is out of bounds and then politely give the parents a “heads up”. This usually goes over pretty well in our circles.
    My recent post The 3 Amigos!

    • Thanks for your comments, Chris! That sounds like a good community, and a good approach. Think I'm going to adopt it.Thanks for reading, and taking the time to drop me a line.