Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti LICSW, MSW
A close childhood friend of mine just adopted a baby girl. This is epic news because ever since my best friend’s twin girls outgrew their velvet-and-ribbon princess dress phase, I’ve had only had male children to buy clothing for. Shopping for boy clothes versus girl clothes is the sartorial equivalent to traveling by roller skate when you really want a Porsche.
Sure I (falsely) fancy myself non-materialistic but if there is a substance on this planet more adorable than baby girl clothing—especially baby girl clothing plus a baby girl—I have yet to discover it.
Using the magic of technology, via teleconference I asserted sovereign dibs on getting baby girl her first set of fairy wings. My friend looked disappointed until I consolingly pointed out she could place dibs on both the tutus AND leggings. We haggled over clothing rights (okay maybe it was just me) the way some people might haggle over business acquisition contracts. In our circle, clothing is very important.
My friend wisely remained silent throughout this exchange, knowing that she is the one who will actually dress her child as I live far away. For all I know she already has a stash of fairy wings sorted by glitter pastel shade and size.
This blog entry isn’t just about my brand new, exceptionally well dressed friend’s baby. Ok maybe it mostly is. But this blog entry is also about a principle of constructive conflict: Constructive conflict includes three key ingredients:
- 1. An issue you care about
- 2. Repetition of a behavior that upsets you
- 3. Participants who are capable of considering more than one point of view.
Think about these points prior to going home for the holidays. If you encounter some unhealthy family dynamics and you do not have all three pieces in place, you are better off saving your energy for self-care rather than engaging in family arguments. In particular the third key is important because if you have family members who simply don’t have space in their minds for your perspective, bringing up issues will only be an exercise in futility. Better just to get real exercise instead. Or might I suggest shopping… for fairy wings?
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- Recovering from PTSD and Depression: What You Can Do (seattletherapist.wordpress.com)
- Good Intentions Don’t Always Pan Out (seattletherapist.wordpress.com)