Resolving Books

Many Mini Life Changes, bullying Books, Anger management books & Sibling Rivalry Books

27 Apr

Anger at the recession

Posted in Uncategorized on 27.04.10 by Merlyn

We are almost two years on from the effective collapse of the banks, yet, the anger about what has happened is still acute in our society. Just lately in Ireland there has been public outrage at the huge pensions enjoyed by some of our top politicians and bankers. In the UK there has been fury at the expenses claimed by the politicians. They are marching in the streets in Athens……….We seem to be in a permanent state of outrage.

So what do we do with all of our fury? Normally, when we can articulate our anger at the person we feel is responsible, the other responds and eventually we find a resolution. Apology might be involved but, the critical thing is we know who we are dealing with.

The difficulty with this  recession is that we feel enraged but have no one person to focus and articulate that rage towards, and if we do focus on someone we cannot talk to them directly ourselves.  The situation is so complex and involves so many layers of our society it is like pinning a jelly to the wall sorting out who is ‘to blame’. We are asked to think of the future and face changes in our own wage packets without feeling that we have established that most important of things; a recognition by the other that the consequence of their actions has effected us badly.

I think the leadership we all crave is centred on this issue. We need someone to recognise our sense of betrayal, articulate it, channel it towards the right people and bring about some sort of healing. Without this process it is hard for us to move on as a society. As human beings, we need restoration through the recognition that  our actions have consequences for others, the need for us to take personal responsibility for this and then act on that fact. Apology may be part of that but, more critically the process itself can lead to important healing on both sides.

As long as our leaders don’t find a way to facilitate this process we will have this societal anger to deal with.


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27 Apr

Helping children learn

Posted in Uncategorized on 27.04.10 by Merlyn

There are so many aspects to bringing up our children that we can feel quite overwhelmed. When we face subjects like Bullying we can feel out of our depth, however we still have to find a way through for our children.

The good news is that each difficult situation our family faces creates an opportunity for learning and growth. This might seem hard to achieve, but, it is possible. The Resolving Book Series ( is designed to help you and your children find such a way.

We are not born with all the skills we need to negotiate our way through life but most of us have the latent ability and, if taught, we can improve. The key to learning is understanding that it is not only about knowing what to do but being able to do it under pressure.  If asked, we all would say that it is a good idea to keep our temper but yet all of us find that, under pressure, we do the exact opposite! Our children are the same. They may know that they should not fight but, like us, when they are triggered in a particular way, they will go ahead and do it anyway.

Children have the added challenge of being in the middle of their young development. They can misunderstand like for dislike. They may not understand why someone is angry at them, even though you feel they should, or, quite simply, they just can’t quite find the words to explain what they mean. Not too unlike ourselves!!

Did you know that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become really good at something? The training that musicians or sports people go through is based on this fact and The Resolving Book Series uses the methodology of such training to create the best possible toolbook for your family.  There is a lot of emphasis given to repetitive practice. This is because you are helping to train your child’s brain. By practicing you build up new neural pathways in the brain thereby creating new proficiencies.

Remember, learning these skills takes time. Just like any other subject from reading to football we need to stick with it and be patient.

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24 Apr

Parenting Teenagers

Posted in Uncategorized on 24.04.10 by Merlyn

We were sitting at dinner  two nights ago and my daughter asked me if part of becoming a teenager was wanting to disobey your parents. She was finding that she was beginning to feel like this and wasn’t sure what was going on in her head. I said to her that she was on course to be a normal teenager!

Battles over curfew times, clothes, alcohol, money……etc can be a very stressful part of the teenage years for both kids and parents.  Yet, they seem to be part and parcel of this stage of family life. If we think about it, we need our children to develop independent thinking so they can leave home and construct successful adult lives of their own. We need our children to be able to say ‘NO’ and successfully argue their point……….it is just difficult when they are doing it with us over important issues of parenting which we need to do to keep them safe etc.

We know we are going to have different opinions to our teenage children, this is not new or surprising to us. Our focus should be on how we can teach our children (and ourselves) HOW to disagree without it escalating into a full scale row or conflict.So, how do we do that. Here are some ideas:

1. Preempt flash points where you can. Sit down and negotiate curfew times. Talk about why you are concerned about certain clothes when it is possible to have a full conversation.

2. Listen to your child’s views ( it doesn’t mean you need to agree with them) talk calmly about your own points of view. Try and keep cool.

3. When you think you each understand the others way of thinking write down all the options you both can think of that will meet both your needs.

4. See  of you can make one of these ideas work.

This process gives both of you a chance to talk through and understand rather than shout and not understand. You never know what mutually acceptable ideas you may come up with together.

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23 Apr

Parenting Teenagers

Posted in Uncategorized on 23.04.10 by Merlyn

I was talking with a group of parents last night. They all have young teenagers and we were talking about how to ‘survive the teenage years’. One of the issues that came up was how to handle the subject of personal space. What do you do when your teenager says that their room is their own space and you cannot go into, even as a parent?

There were a couple of very good ideas. one was to agree to this, but, take all electronic equipment out of the rooms into the shared part of the house. A parent who has done this has found that the kids spend more time in the family space and less time in their bedrooms.

It can be hard when our teenagers start throwing phrases at us like ” It’s my right”. As a mediator, this is something I would class as ‘positional’ thinking and it is good to open up a conversation about what that actually means. Ask a question like  ” I would like to understand what you mean by that. Can you tell me more?” . Another interesting conversation is to ask them what responsibilities do they see going with those rights?

There is also the question of your own rights as parents. The important thing is to get to discuss both your ‘needs and interests’. These can be things like the genuine need for your teenager to have some privacy but your own need to keep them safe and connected to the family. Finding ways to talk about these things will help you get to a better solution for both of you.

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21 Apr

Give children a chance to learn

Posted in Uncategorized on 21.04.10 by Merlyn

As a parent I know how frustrating it is to have a row break out in the back of the car, or over dinner, between the kids. We say things like “For goodness sake get on with each other.” ” Play nicely.” or ” What’s wrong with you….be quiet!”

We expect our 8 and 6 year old to know how to get on.  We are frustrated when they don’t and rarely teach them how to disagree effectively. We want to suppress the row by demanding things like “Say sorry” and I certainly know I have said “She ‘s your sister you need to like her!”

What if we treated this Sibling Rivalry as an opportunity for us to teach our kids how to disagree and resolve, much like we teach them how to read or ride a bike? Instead of presuming they arrive in our arms already programmed to ‘get on’ and become hugely disappointed when they don’t, we could be honest at our own ability to handle rows even as adults and help our children learn over their childhood.

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21 Apr

Training the Brain

Posted in Uncategorized on 21.04.10 by Merlyn

I have been watching a programme on the BBC which is researching Brain Training. There is a lot of exercises and the are testing individuals to see whether their brain function can be improved.  It is interesting stuff and the whole area of neuro-science and what it can teach us is gaining in popularity all the time.

Can we learn anything to help us deal with Anger, Bullying or Rowing? …..Yes we can. In the Resolving Books Series ( you will see we have used a Practise Room at the back of the room to encourage repetitive skills learning. This is the model that musicians, dancers etc use to become great performers. Why is this? The more we practice the more our brain adapts to become proficient at the skill.

If we want to manage our anger successfully or resolve our rows effectively we need to practice the skills required on a regular basis. Try the skills in the books and keep practicing………it will make a difference.

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20 Apr

Taking time to understand

Posted in Uncategorized on 20.04.10 by Merlyn

The fact that we are all so different means we each need to take time to understand why the other person is responding the way they are. Is this not what we want from other people ourselves? The frustration we feel when we are not understood can disappear quite quickly with a couple of well timed questions and a bit of listening. Asking ‘What is upsetting you about this?” or ” What is your point of view?” will help….and it doesn’t mean you can’t expresss you own point of view. It gives you both a better chance at finding a good solution.


20 Apr

Different conflict styles

Posted in Uncategorized on 20.04.10 by Merlyn

If you look at any airport check-in queue facing the bad news of delayed flights you will see as many different reactions as there are people. There are those that become agitated and noisy and those that sit quiet and still. There are some that want answers and some that take what comes without question.

We all respond differently because, of course, we are different. Quite often the reason conflict happens is because  we don’t understand  the different responses we have to the everyday issues in our lives.

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20 Apr

Losing your temper as a means to avoid conflict

Posted in Uncategorized on 20.04.10 by Merlyn

The way we respond to other people is a mixture of our particular nature and the way we are brought up.

For example, if you grow up in a family where disagreement and rows happen and are resolved as part of normal family life, your experience will have taught you not to worry about people disagreeing with you as it is possible to sort things out. However, if your experience is that disagreements can get out of hand on a regular basis and people can get hurt, you will be triggered to feel that rows are dangerous. Your instinct will be to either back away or force a quick resolution on your terms to stop things escalating. It is interesting to note that quite often somebody who ‘shouts the loudest’ and forces their own view is actually instinctively avoiding conflict by stopping dissent.

I found it an interesting part of my work as a mediator to learn that aggression generally covered an inability to negotiate. That in actual fact a forceful personality who will not give way is showing considerable weakness.

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19 Apr

Dealing with annoyed people

Posted in Uncategorized on 19.04.10 by Merlyn

So, how do you deal with someone who is shouting the odds at you? It can be hard. As you can see from the previous blog, when we get annoyed we are often not able to think clearly.When we are faced with someone who is angry we start to feel anxious ourselves and can start to lose our own temper. However, it is a futile exercise to force your view on somebody who is trying to do the same back. This leads to a futile escalation of anger.

The most effective thing to do is to stay calm and listen to them first, even if you don’t agree with them. Listening helps them calm down, and we also need to remember that there probably is a valid problem underneath the display of anger.

Saying things like “I can hear that this has been a difficult day for you.” or ” Tell me what has happened.” can be helpful.  Asking open questions things like ” So,  what do you think your options are?” or ” What can you do now?” can help them start to think and not just remain angry.  It also focuses the conversation on solutions.

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