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Conflict Resolution Tips and Blog

The Sandwich – The 4 Ingredients That Make This Conflict Easier to Swallow

I’m not a fan of sandwiches, but I grew up during a time when a cartoon character became famous for his. They were called, Dagwoods and they were piled high with every kind of meat, cheese and condiment that you could imagine. This sandwich was piled high over his head. That seems to be an accurate description for the life of those in my generation and even a decade younger.

We are caretakers for our elderly parents while still raising our children, the double decker sandwich. Some of us are helping to raise grandchildren or taking care of parents and grandparents while still having to raise children, which is known as the triple decker. Either way, the common feeling I have heard expressed is “in over our heads.”

It is a lot to comprehend, schedule, manage and wrap your brain around. It can be overwhelming. This kind of lifestyle invites conflict pretty easily and sometimes unexpectedly.

When my dad was in his late seventies, he was living on his own, dating (like you wouldn’t believe), driving his own car and was very active in his church and the neighborhood. My sister and I started noticing some memory issues that we held family meetings to address, but my dad was still having a full life, including enjoying his three grandchildren. One night, he had a stomachache and we took him to the emergency room. He was immediately admitted to ICU and sedated. When he finally came out of sedation three days later, he was in full blown dementia.

In a matter of three days, all of our lives had completely changed. My sister and I were now responsible for him and all of his affairs just like that.

I have watched numerous friends and family navigate similar situations and almost drown in them. The stress, the tension and the conflicts can threaten to shatter the best relationships. So, it is important to be prepared even if you are already in this sandwich.

Here’s the four necessary ingredients for being able to digest all of this:

1. Address The Fear of What If

Yes, no one wants to deal with what if, but the truth is that on top of all the stress you already have, you will have so much more if you don’t. This means, get all of their paperwork in order now. Insurance, medical, wills and yes even funeral services. There I said it. The worst is out there. Straight talk helps. My dad was more than willing to write up his funeral service a decade before we needed it.

2. Enlist Help

You are not the only person going through this no matter how bad your story. My friend Terri V. White at shares that in her work, there are so many stories out there and most of them involving people not reaching out for help or reaching out when they are so exhausted they can barely function. Getting help and information is important even before this happens to you.

3. Expect Opposition

Whatever is happening in your life, you can expect your children to push back, because there is not enough of you to go around. You can expect opposition from your parents and/or grandparents, because change is scary and losing independence is humiliating.

4. Schedule In Me Time

No matter what, something has to give. Learn to say no even when it is hard. Schedule time for yourself everyday and be upfront about it. It is not selfish. It is urgent care for you. If you are not doing well, then everyone suffers.

We are living lives that are very different from our parents and if you are not there yet, then get a jump on this because you will be one day. Handling these kinds of conflicts require skills, patience and preparation, but even with that there can be enjoyment. Just like that sandwich that Dagwood prepared. He knew that on top of everything he put in it that put it over his head, the main ingredient was love.

Family conflicts can be hard to deal with. That’s why I created The Soul of Conflict: Creating Peace In The Family Series. It starts March 27th and I would love to have you join us. Invest in yourself and your family now. Go to

Is Teaching Social and Emotional Skills Without Diversity Just Another Name For Respectability Politics?

A year ago a colleague questioned me as to whether I thought that teaching predominantly poor African American and Latino children (my primary youth audience), the skills of conflict resolution, communication and managing emotions bordered on respectability politics. My knee-jerk reaction was, “No, of course not. These are vital skills for success and staying alive in a world that is set up to limit their access to the people and places that can help them live up to their full potential.”

Her question rattled me enough to explore the numerous articles that had begun to surface on this very topic. Folks were not just questioning, but denouncing ideas like grit, character development, managing emotions and conflict resolution skills, because rather than creating safe and respectful environments, they are teaching children from marginalized communities that there is something wrong with who they are and how they behave. Respectability politics at work in their eyes.

In the article, “The Definition, Danger and Disease of Respectability Politics Explained,” Damon Young explains that respectability politics is “generally defined as what happens when minority and/or marginalized groups are told (or teach themselves) that in order to receive better treatment from the group in power, they must behave better.” What does it say that many of the schools that are implementing the very specific skills of managing emotion and effective communication skills are public schools where black and brown and poor students are the predominant demographic?

There is a definite influence that culture has on everything from communication to expressing emotions. Is getting us all on the same page in the way that we communicate a way of passing judgment on the quieter and more observant nature of most Asian populations and the more expressive and emotional communication style of African American and Latino populations? The tension that rises in the room when diversity is on the agenda often betrays the need to discuss the pushback against these skills that is beginning to surface in numerous articles.

I love what I do, but the questions being raised are important enough in my view to consider. For right now, I am choosing to continue reading and to take it all in. I would love to read what you have to say about it.

Read the connection between these skills and education and corporate America in my latest Psychology Today article.


Breaking Culture: 3 Things I’ve Learned. Why Is Everybody Looking Down?

1. Respect, we all agree?

Respect is a funny thing. Whenever I deliver a workshop, webinar or talk and we get to the place where we briefly pause to make community agreements together, respect hits the board quickly. Then I get what I call the “Amen Chorus”, everyone shaking their head in agreement and essentially saying, “Yes, that’s right. I agree.”

I Have A Crick In My Neck.


The truth is…

Respect means different things to different people and when you throw culture in the mix it can all look so different.


Years back, while conducting an all-day training for a very diverse group of adults, I was talking about this very topic. One man raised his hand and said, “Whew, I am so glad we are talking about this. I am from Pakistan and in my country you are considered an authority. So I must look down to show respect, but then I remember that I am in America. So I must look up to show you respect. I have been moving my head up and then down because it is not easy to break culture.

2. Oops! I’m Breaking “Your Custom”

It is impossible to live in such an eclectic society without running into conflict over customs that are held dear and impenetrable. Our rituals, languages, religions and celebrations all give cause for joyous coming together as well as tense conflict.

Asking folks to change long held customs and beliefs is akin to requesting that they detach limbs in many cases and yet folks are indeed asking.


Independence Day Celebration Contradiction


I experienced a thought-provoking dilemma over the weekend. In the moment of a huge firework celebration in Texas where everything is done bigger, a friend who is in the military, based there for now, took to Facebook Live in tears. She made an impassioned plea to all Americans that they consider the veterans in their planning of local fireworks displays and celebrations. With each loud popping noise she was experiencing PTSD. She wanted folks to know that this is real for thousands of military personnel.

An American cultural staple was causing extreme conflict for the very people who put their lives on the line so that we could celebrate “the reason for the season.” (Those of us who celebrate it, but that is a cultural conflict story for another blog). This is an entry-way into a rich discussion on breaking culture. Last time I checked she had over 8,000 views and hundreds of comments.

3. I Shalt Not Offend Because Everything Is Offensive

One of the most popular complaints I hear from cultural gatekeepers on down to folks who “just don’t want to say the wrong thing” is everything one says is offensive to somebody these days. Well, not really.

While the waters of culture and context may be challenging to navigate, there’s nothing that thoughtful inquiry, conversation, deep listening and ongoing pulling together and working to understand each other won’t cure.


But very little of that is going on these days because fear, not the cat, has our collective tongues.

I Love Lucy, No Really, I Love Lucy.


I read the most interesting 25 facts about the “I Love Lucy” show. The most fascinating one stated that during the episodes that included Lucy’s pregnancy, the scripts had to be approved by a priest, a minister and a rabbi in order not to offend anyone. That could have stopped them, but they went full speed ahead with their message of humor in everyday life, because they knew that it was bringing people together. Desi and Lucy were big on breaking culture.

Cultural shifts and breaks are happening everywhere, most rapidly in this country, even as we still face some of the same social issues that have been present for a century. The resistance that is rising up to meet these is only as strong as our fear of deeply understanding each other.

3 Ways I Use My Conflict Resolution Skills In My Parenting: A Homegrown Conflict Resolutionista Speaks

My life’s journey has allowed me to teach conflict resolution and leadership skills to teens for over 25 years. One of the outcomes that I envisioned so many years ago was to have these teens grow up and use these skills to educate others. I am blessed to still be in connection with so many young people who are doing just that.

Today, I am spotlighting one of them.

Melissa Velasquez found one of my Today’s Parenting Tips on Facebook and shared it in one of her blog posts. I was not only grateful but excited to find out what she is up to in the world. We shared a wonderful conversation about mommy-hood, blogging and conflict resolution.

Actually, we went all over the place with this conversation. Melissa was raised from teenage years on the skills of conflict resolution. She is what I call Homegrown. She was a prominent figure in an incredible organization called E.A.R.S., Effective Alternatives in Reconciliation Services.

She ventured into the world of blogging in order to lend a voice to the single moms out there.

As a single mom of three year old Misa, she wanted to provide hope, pride, direction, tips, advice and truth. She wanted to see if someone could get something good from her words. I certainly did. I am sharing three ways that she uses her skills of conflict resolution in her parenting in order to feature a younger voice who developed expertise early in her life.

Below are her answers to some pointed questions and my take on her responses.
1. What is on your playlist these days?

“I am so careful about the messages Misa takes in. What’s on my playlist is ABC by The Jackson Five.”

Being careful about what our children hear can be challenging. Being prepared to talk with them about what they hear when they go other places is important. Listening to their questions and being willing and ready to give them honest, age appropriate answers is part of the way she parents.

conflict-resolution-with-melissa-velasquez2. What do you do as a parent that you feel breaks culture?

“By the way that I discipline. She will never hear me threaten to hit her. By also letting her have a voice.”

Allowing children to have a voice can mean that they may take a long time to decide things, for instance what they want to wear in the morning as Melissa has experienced. However, they learn how to make decisions. It is also not easy to break culture. You really need to stand tall in that and use your communication skills, something both Melissa and I know something about.

3. What is a big mistake that you learned from?

“Being triggered. We had someplace to go and we were going to be late. I do not like to be late. It is programmed in me from E.A.R.S. She started yelling and screaming and really losing it. Nothing I was trying worked. So I really lost it and she heard me say a bad word. I had to apologize to her later.”

It didn’t end up being completely resolved in this big happy ending for them, but they were able to get through it and attend the event. The lesson learned was about taking a minute to notice that you are being triggered and to try to calm yourself down. But if that doesn’t happen, then an apology is important to your child. It is something that I teach about often.

Young voices need to be heard. They can really add something to the conversation.

Both Melissa and I agree that there is too much division in the parenting world. We have much more to gain by coming together.

conflict-resolution-parenting-with-melissa-velasquezFeel free to connect with Melissa on:

Her Blog:


Instagram, Twitter & Snapchat: @justabxmom

The Need for Flood Pressure Checks is On the Rise

Right now, I live in an NBA household and it is playoff season. My oldest son is a longtime diehard fan of The Golden State Warriors. They have had some exciting, history-making and frustrating times this season not the least of which are those moments presented to us by forward, Draymond Green. In Game 3 of the Conference Finals, Green kicked Oklahoma City Thunder player Steven Adams in the groin while getting a shot off. Also, in a more recent game while attempting a baby hook over 6 foot 4 Oklahoma City guard, Russell Westbrook, he kicked him near his chin. Here’s a man in need of a Flood Pressure Check.

While politics has always been messy and passionate, the current political climate has brought out the worst in many people including the candidates. Just the mention of Donald Trump’s name sends people into an emotional frenzy. Hillary Clinton and the Clinton legacy leave behind their own emotional carnage. Emotional flooding is happening on a level of epic proportions. It’s time for a national Flood Pressure Check.

How To Check Your Flood Pressure

I’m sure we all had our blood pressure checked. I hope we have… if not, please get it checked regularly. Flood Pressure Checks are very similar. Just like blood pressure there are two numbers involved. In order to do a Flood Pressure Check, you need to reflect on a situation where you were emotionally flooded and give yourself a number that would reflect the extent of that flooding. Your number should be from 1 – 200. However, thanks to the suggestion of Mia who attended my most recent conflict resolution workshop, I will add that if you are from a culture where your starting point in any conflict is highly emotional, then your starting number might be 200 and range up to 400. Yes, emotional expression and conflict are definitely cultural.

The Numbers Game

This is your high number. Now you must assign yourself a lower number. Your low number represents how conscious you were of knowing that you did not want to be as emotionally flooded as you were and did not want to react in the situation the way that you did. This should be a number from 1 – 200. The point of a Flood Pressure Check is to begin to assess the work that you need to do to become conscious of your emotional reactions quickly enough to do something about them. If there is a large gap between your high number and your low number then your goal is to close that gap by bringing your high number down (flooding and reacting less) and your low number up (being conscious of emotions beginning to flood you and not reacting).

The goal is to close the gap between reacting and responding.

Here are 3 tips For lowering your Flood Pressure.
1. Have A Stress Release System

When your body is flooded with stress hormones, your brain’s function is to protect you and go in to fight or flight mode. There is little to no access to conscious decision-making. Having a regular method for releasing stress in your life that you can put in place when conflict happens is crucial in changing your Flood Pressure numbers.

2. Take Advantage of Your Down Time

When you are no longer in a heightened emotional state, don’t let that be the end of the situation. Take the time to reflect on your reaction and where you think that reaction came from. Ask yourself: What words or actions triggered me? What in my past could be responsible for setting this as an emotional trigger for me?

3. Start On An Emotional Escape Plan

Without judgement of yourself, start to develop a plan for addressing it. In developing your plan, ask yourself the following questions: Do I need more skills in managing my emotions, resolving conflict and releasing stress? Do I need a calming phrase or a word to remind me to become more conscious of when I am being triggered? What work do I need to do if I want to release myself from this trigger?

As you put these tips in to action, you will begin to see your Flood Pressure numbers change and your relationships strengthen.

lynne's giftShoutout to Aldeen who took 4 days of training with me and immediately began to put the techniques and strategies to action in her life. She had such success that her family noticed right away. I am blessed to have this t-shirt made by her son and given to me from her family as a thank you! THANK YOU FAMILY!

If you want to learn to lower your Flood Pressure in a powerful one-on-one consultation with me, I have a few spots available this month. CLICK HERE to Sign up Now.

Exciting News!

The 5 Things You Should Never Do If You Want Your Child To Listen To You Free Webinar was such a SUCCESS… I am doing Part Two on June 14th!

It’s called: 5 Ways to Stop Fear From Being The Loudest Voice In Your Household.
Register for this FREE Powerful Webinar today at