Quick Tip

Stop the Bickering – Stop, Freeze, Reframe!


Shifting Your Perspective

You ready to stop the bickering in your house? It's all in how you look at it. A client recently shared a negative interaction she had with her boss. After she described the events, and her completely normal response, I challenged her to look at the situation from a few other perspectives. What if:

  • Her boss had just had a run-in with his boss? Most of us are likely to lash out when we are attacked ourselves.
  • Her boss was genuinely concerned for the organization and for her? How could his actions be seen more as a support than a criticism?
  • Her boss experienced something that reminded him of a way that he's disappointed in himself?

Minimize Meltdowns!

Download a free tipsheet "Top 10 Ways to Stop Meltdowns in Their Tracks" to stop yelling and tantrums from everyone!

What It Means to Reframe

Typically, reframing can be a difficult exercise. But here's the reality: how we respond to any situation in life is a matter of perspective. If we are willing to consider a reframe – another way of looking at the situation – it can potentially give us (or our kids) enough space to move forward when things get difficult.

Now the ideal way to reframe is to make it fun. For example, you can ask, “What would the dog have to say about the situation?” or "What would Oprah say?" The trick is to find a perspective that you are willing to consider as an alternate reality. You don't have to whole-heartedly believe it from the start – you just have to consider the possibility that another perspective might also be legitimate.

How Does Reframing Stop Kids Bickering?

Take my bickering kids (yes, please take them – anywhere!) for example. When I can get them to stop bickering long enough, and encourage them to change places and explain the other's perspective, it can create sufficient space to negotiate a compromise. (You can try this with most kids starting at about age 7.) It may not get them holding hands and singing Kumbaya, but it's improvement.

Shifting perspectives can stop the bickering in your family, and oftentimes it starts with you. The next time you find yourself (or your kid) feeling stuck, try to look at things from another angle.

More From Anxiety Blog