Moderating Your Conflicts
When writing a case study or research paper on moderating your conflicts, you can approach the topic from many ways. Have Paper Masters custom write your project based on a case like the one you see here:
You may use this case study and apply it as the directions allow:
- Using the course materials and discussions, write a response paper at least one page long.
- Using the Case Study below and discuss moderating conflict.
- Specifically, explain how Michelle, Brian, and the mother might change the conflict using more constructive communication practices (dialogue, fractionation, reframing) to transform the conflict.
- Use your course materials and specific examples from the conflict to substantiate your claims.
Case Study on Moderating Conflicts
Moderating Your Conflicts
Case Title: “I’m Not Asking For Much…”
My mother and I have been fighting with each other for as long as I can remember. When I was in high school, she criticized my choice of girlfriends, “Vanessa’ is not as smart as you are; I don’t understand why she is your friend,” and my boyfriends, “Why doesn’t Shawn come to the door to pick you up? Michelle, it is not nice behavior for a boy not to come to the front door.” She would yell at me if I got a C on my report card telling me I did not try hard enough and always nagged me about my “weird” clothes. Nothing I ever did was good enough or right.
After college I married to a wonderful man and now have a beautiful six-year-old daughter. We moved to Chicago from Cleveland (where my mother still lives) three years ago. Mother and I call each other weekly and she visits us for holidays.
Even though I am a wife and mother, not much has change between my mother and
me: she still criticizes me about most of my choices, including my marriage, and tells me how I should live my life.
The fights between my mother and me always begin the same way: she says something mean-spirited, criticizing me or the way I keep house or cook or makes comments about Brian’s lack of ambition or Heather’s awkward social graces. I then defend myself or my husband and daughter, returning the attack. She gets defensive and begins to cry. We just seem to push each other’s “buttons.”
Last Thanksgiving, mother and I had one of our loudest and biggest fights—it was a real “knock-down-drag-out, fight-to-the-death” confrontation. My daughter, Heather, was even a little scared. Brian, my husband, was so worried he stepped in to stop us from hurting each other. It was not a pretty, but was not unusual for my mother and me.
While making Thanksgiving dinner, mother and I were preparing the bird when she casually said, “Honey, you know it might be a good idea to enroll Heather in dance classes. She seems a little awkward to me.” I said nothing. Moments later she remarked, “Please don’t take this the wrong way, Michelle, but don’t you think Brian could ask for a promotion? You could certainly use the extra money to buy a new washer and dryer.”
I responded with, “Mother, Brian and I are doing just fine. You don’t need to tell me what to do. I wish you would just mind your own business.” I then turned away, pretending to look busy.
“Honey,” my mother said, “I’m not telling you what to do; I am just making a suggestion. Really, Michelle, I do have your best interests at heart. I want you to be happy and when I see you struggling, I….”
“I AM happy, mother,” my voice getting louder. “You do not need to tell me how to be happy. We want to make our own choices. Why can’t you just leave us alone?”
“Leave you alone?” my mother screamed. “You are my daughter; I cannot leave you alone. I want what is best for you!”
It was at this point that my mother began to cry. Feeling guilty and sorry that I yelled at her, I comforted her, assuring her that I really didn’t mean to say that I wanted her to leave us alone and that she should mind her own business. After my apologies, she stopped crying and we hugged, telling each other that we were sorry for what we said. We then resumed preparing dinner.
Not five minutes had gone by, when my mother said, “You know, I could help you with a new washer and dryer. I don’t have much, but I could contribute something.”
That’s when I lost my temper. I unleashed a torrent of anger, telling my mother that my financial situation was none of her concern and that Brian and I were doing just fine without her help. In fact, we didn’t need her help at all. I then told her that my daughter was six years old and all decisions about her were up to me, not her and to just butt out of our lives.
Heather, a little frightened, ran off to her room, slammed the door and began sobbing. Brian stepped in at that moment and tried to quiet us down. My mother, in a confused rage, stormed off to her room and, like Heather, slammed the door. I could hear her crying, too. I stood over the uncooked turkey, shaking with anger, looking at Brian.
After I calmed down, I said to Brian, “Why does it always have to be like this?
Why can’t my mother stop criticizing me? I have told her so many times not to say those things to me about you and Heather, but she continues to criticize all of us. We would all be so much happier and wouldn’t get into these terrible fights if she would just stop telling me what to do. I am so tired of these fights with her that I’m ready to end this whole relationship. Maybe I just won’t invite her for any more holidays.
Maybe that’s how I can stop these arguments. What do you think?”
Using the course materials and interactive discussions, write a response paper at least one page long. Choose a current personal or organizational conflict you’re experiencing. In the paper, assess the conflict using the systems theory approach. Specifically, choose any three assessment tools from either the Wilmot-Hocker Conflict Assessment Guide or The Difficult Conversations Guide, then apply the tools to assess the conflict. Use the course materials and examples to substantiate your claims.