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Monday, November 5, 2012

Conflict resolution policeman style

Have you ever been pulled over by a policeman for speeding?  I have...but that's not the topic of this post :).   What I want to talk about is conflict resolution.  Policemen are an excellent example of how to deal appropriately with disobedience and we can learn from the way they do it.

So, you were speeding down the road and you notice the lights flashing behind you.  Darn!  Caught!  You safely pull over to the side of the road and go over in you mind what you did.  Mr. Policeman slowly walks over to your car window and politely asks if you know why you are being pulled over.  You either come up with a lame excuse or are honest and tell the truth.  Either way, Mr. Policeman then describes the facts as he saw them.  No arguing, no emotional diatribe.  He asks for your ID and registration, takes them to his vehicle where he checks them against his records.  When he returns, he either gives you a warning about following the laws or he writes you a ticket.  Again, he's totally in control and calm.  Then he gets back into his car and drives away.  No yelling, no lectures, no threats.  As you drive away, you vow to be more careful and not go over the speed limit.

Can you see how this kind of response to disobedience can be useful in dealing with kids?  You are the voice of authority and when you respond in a calm and in control way, you have more impact than if you are yelling, screaming or threatening them with all kinds of bodily harm.  They can hear the message you want to give them because it's not hidden in all the emotional noise.

When a policeman pulls you over, his goal is to inform you that you are breaking the law and strongly discourage you from doing it again, either by way of warning or ticket (punishment).  The same is true with you as a parent.  When your child misbehaves, your goal is to inform him that he is breaking a law of the home and that it is unacceptable.  You enforce this by either giving him a warning or having him endure the consequences of his behavior.

Policemen have to learn how to reign in their emotions as part of their job and so do you as a mother.  It's possible.


  1. Good analogy! It makes a LOT of sense... ;)

  2. I once thanked a Hwy Patrol Officer for paying attention to my safety. He really made his point politely. :-)