Solution or Resolution?

Whether it is children quarreling about who gets to play with a toy, or adults arguing over who is responsible for a certain task, people often look for the quickest solution.The children’s caretaker may simply take away the toy or arrange a schedule for its shared use. One of the adults may acquiesce and complete the task, or another person of authority may intervene and just tell folks what to do. These immediate interventions may solve the problem short-term.

However, if the underlying needs remain unaddressed, and the folks involved had no say in the solution, it may not be a long-term resolution. Maybe the kids really are just fighting over the toy in that specific moment, and taking away the toy stops the fighting, so what’s the big deal? It may not be a big deal. Yet, if someone intervenes and only takes away the toy without any further discussion, no one really learns the child’s need. If the child needs self-expression, freedom, creativity, or play, either the child will find another way to meet the need or will find another toy to dispute. If child really needs acknowledgement and belonging, the child may feel sad and unheard and either withdraw or engage in unwanted self-expression.

If one adult acquiesces and completes the disputed task, the job does get done for that one time. However, the needs for clarity, harmony, respect, trust, or understanding may remain unmet. This means the issue may still arise in the future.

Solutions tend to be short-term and resolutions resolve the underlying issue(s). People sometimes think conversations about needs will be too time consuming; however, usually shortly after naming needs ideas for long-term resolution start flowing. Folks gain more clarity and understanding and can move forward.

A civil and family mediator, peace builder, and educator, Sherry Ann Bruckner lives in Alexandria, Minnesota. Visit brucknermediation.com/services to learn more or call Sherry at (320) 808-3212 for help to transform conflict and create peace.

As always, be gentle with you. Be gentle with all. Be the peace.