“Mom, I have some really bad news about your laptop.” It was the first thing my teen-age daughter said to me as I came into her room on Labor Day. “We were using your laptop to make a video last night and my friend left it sitting on the arm of the rocking chair and when the chair rocked, it fell to the floor. When you turn it on, the screen is all messed up.”
I took a deep breath as I sought to remain calm. Why would you leave a laptop sitting on the arm of a rocking chair? My thoughts were reeling as I considered what to say. Her friend was there also and began telling me that she had spoken with her parents already, and they would pay for the damage. “I’m really sorry it happened,” she said.
I was thankful for her willingness to take care of the expense but now I faced a writing deadline with an unfinished manuscript I couldn’t access. I wanted to lash out at someone for the stupid decision to put an expensive piece of technology on a rocking chair arm, but knew that wouldn’t solve my problem. I made a conscious decision to keep my anger in check and left the room.
Conflict happens when we least expect it. Thankfully, I was in good spirits when I learned of my damaged laptop, which prevented me from saying something I would regret later. I was also reminded of a decision I made years ago to will myself from losing control during conflict. I can’t say that I’ve always kept that commitment, but I work hard at it.
Later, I spoke with my daughter and her friend further. I expressed my disappointment over their poor choice in handling my laptop. I thanked her friend for her willingness to cover the expense and asked for their help in setting up an external monitor to determine how badly the laptop was damaged. I wanted them to be part of the resolution to the problem.
In my next post, I will consider the use of the team approach further and the value of keeping our anger in check when conflict occurs.
Do you need to commit to keeping your anger in check during conflict?
Conquering Conflict in Your Blended Family – Part One: What is Your Style?
Conquering Conflict in Your Blended Family – Part Two: Using Flexibility
Conquering Conflict in Your Blended Family – Part Three: Letting It Go
Conquering Conflict in Your Blended Family – Part Four: Get a Grip on Your Pride
Conquering Conflict in Your Blended Family – Part Five: What Style do you Use Most Frequently?