Resolve Parent-Child Conflicts With the Golden 5:1 Rule| Put An End To Yes-No Fight

Last Update on August 3, 2021 : Published on August 3, 2021
Resolve Parent Child Conflicts

Are you in a constant tug of war with your child in the YES-NO argument? Don’t worry you are not alone in experiencing this classic and probably the long-lasting parent-child conflict. Every parent you know is constantly trying to get the child in agreement with their decisions of YES and NO.

I have seen the same happening in my house. My sister is saying NO to my niece a couple of 100 times throughout the day. Which made me wonder how this classic parent-child conflict might be impacting their relationship and overall wellness.

So, I suggested to her a Magic Ratio that suggests how many times you should say your child a yes for each time you say them a NO. The fact that is backed with research and a part of child psychology makes it an even more authentic way to resolve the Yes-No parent-child conflict.

Well, I believe more parents and caregivers need to know about this Magic Ratio to build healthy ties with their little ones.

Exploring the Magic Ratio 5:1

What is the 5:1 Rule of Parenting

Ideally, the 5:1 Ratio was identified by researchers John Gottman and Robert Levenson in the 1970s as a magic ratio to make romantic relationships work. In this magic ratio, 5 refers to positive interactions and the one is for a negative one.

Basically, this ratio says that if you are displaying a negative action or behavior towards the other person, you need to balance it out with 5 positive and loving ones. This further dissolves the conflicts and helps you build a strong relationship with the other person.

The Psychology Behind 5:1 Rule

The psychological explanation underlying this magic ratio of positive parenting is shifting from negative feelings to positive ones. It allows us to show positive feelings of love, positive attention, affection, and acceptance more freely.

Just like we are attuned to show the negative feelings towards the kids in the form of control, demand, anger, and frustration. You can even check it on your own that how often you as a parent are saying NO to your child. Some most common NOs that a child is hearing are:

  • No!
  • No jumping on the bed.
  • No coloring on the walls.
  • No snacks before dinner.
  • No going outside and playing with friends.

Now, these negative expressions may be stemming from your concern for them, but how about replacing them with positive expressions. This way your NOs won’t lose their effectiveness on one hand and resolve this parent-child conflict that you are witnessing on the other.

To put it in a nutshell, the 5:1 Rule of parenting helps you create more room for opportunities wherein you are praising and acknowledging your child healthily. Plus, a balance between Yes and No conflict is sure to be achieved here!

How To Apply 5:1 Rule for Positive Parenting (With Examples)

According to research available, the parent-child relationships shape a major of an individual’s life from his self-esteem to his ability to build strong relationships. That is why it becomes important to interact with your child in light of acceptance and not criticism. To make it work the 5:1 ratio is for your rescue.

Steps To Apply 5:1 Rule of Parenting

To make this 5:1 rule resolve the parent-child conflicts you can follow the steps shared below. Please make a note it is all about observing, identifying, and replacing the negative expressions with positive ones.

Step-1: Journal your interactions with your child, daily for a week. Good-bad, positive-negative, or neutral, just pens it down.

Step-2: Review your interactions as positive or negative.

Step-3: Check the balance or ratio between your negative and positive expressions with your child.

Step-4: If the ratio is 5:1 BINGO! You are doing great. But if it is anything else read the next step.

Step-5: Pick any two positive interactions from the list below and implement them in your relationship with your child. Put them to use every time you make a negative interaction with your child. Eventually, you will see yourself practicing it daily (give it some time and be patient with the process).

Step-6: After a fortnight journal your one-week interactions again and now check for the ratio! Is it any better? If yes, congratulations it is time to work on other positive interactions. However, if the ratio is still the same or has worsened, we recommend you to connect with a professional.

Step-7: Soon you will see yourself achieving the MAGIC RATIO in your relationship with your child.

Please be honest here as no one else is analyzing it for you. Take ownership and work forward in a positive direction.

5 1 parenting rule

Understanding Magic Ratio with Examples

I am sharing with you some instances where 5 times as a parent you can bargain with your child and say them a YES, following with one negative interaction.

5:1 Ratio Parenting Example

Child: I don’t want to do my homework. I am going to play with my friends.

Positive Interaction: How about finishing half of your homework then going out to play with your friends? Once you are back we will work on the second half of the homework.

Negative Interaction: No you have to do your homework.

Child: I don’t want to go to my bed yet. I still want to play/watch TV

Positive Interaction: ok you can play your game/ watch the TV for 10 more minutes and then we will be going to bed.

Negative Interaction: No, it is bedtime you can continue with it tomorrow.

Child: Drawing on the walls.

Positive Interaction: I know you love coloring but how about showing your artistic side on the paper or board instead? Or we can go outside and play if you want to.

Negative Interaction: You can’t be drawing on the house walls.

Child: I don’t want to have greens. May I get some candies?

Positive Interaction: It is lunch/dinner time right now. Look we all are having our greens. You can finish your greens first and then we can have candies for dessert.

Negative Interaction: You are not getting any candies, just finish your greens.

Child: Hits younger or elder siblings.

Positive Interaction: You know honey it is not the right thing to do, it upsets me. Is there something bothering you? How about taking some time apart from him/her and do something you like.

Negative Interaction: Don’t hit your sister.

You can also share any personal life instance of YES-NO conflict between you and your child and we will help you find the MAGIC RATIO of 5:1 in that situation.

Making Room For Positive Interactions

Till now one point is clear that this Magic Ratio of 5:1 is all about welcoming positive interactions and closing the doors for the negative ones. However, this indeed is the tricky part. Don’t worry we got a solution for you here!

The techniques suggested by Purdue University’s Department of Child Development & Family Studies can help you make positive expressions a part of your parenting.

1. Show interest

Show them that you care about what they have to say and share with you. By doing so you tell them that you are interested in what they have to communicate. This in turn builds a positive connection between you two. I would also suggest that sometimes just listen, don’t interrupt, or advise them (until they don’t ask for it). You can show your interest through your body language as well (nod, make eye contact, use supportive phrases like hmm or huh).

2. Show affection

All children crave affection, no matter what their age is (I still crave it from my parents). Showing affection to the child can come in many ways like praising them, hugging them, slight back rubs or a pat on the back, confronting that you love them, or cooking their favorite meal. These little gestures make your child feel loved, just show it to them by showering all your love.

4. Show your care and concern

Parents come with this list of unsaid jobs that they need to perform for their children, being caring is one of them. The good news is that there are zillions of ways to make it work. From helping them prepare for their exam to be their script rehearsal partners, you can also show your child that you care. Just be by them rooting for them and checking on them when things seem off (just be there).

5. Lighten things up

You don’t have to necessarily stress over little things and mistakes that they make as part of their growth. Remember the times when you were little, exploring the world, and committing mistakes? Just let them be free to do so. Instead of shaming them for their mistakes, light things up with a joke, old funny memory of yours, or anything else that breaks the tension. This will give rise to acceptance and learning in them.

6. Be appreciative

Never ever downplay your child or pinpoint what he is not, especially amid conflict (that can do serious damage). Try to focus on what they are good at, appreciate it, and remind them of the same. This will make them feel safe and not vulnerable with you.

7. Listen so you can understand

Listening is an important tool for any and every relationship! Listen to your child carefully and completely, focus on what they have to convey. You can express that you are listening by giving them verbally (huh, hmmm, okay) or non-verbal (eye contact, nodding, leaning forward, and listening) cues. To check whether you are understanding what they want to convey, paraphrase or summarize it for them. Avoid running into shift response or giving advice. Your goal here should be to make them feel heard!

8. Be accepting

One unsaid rule of parenting is leaving the bags of judgments far behind. By judging your child or comparing him with others you not only crash their originality but also temper their self-esteem. This can remain with them for the long-term. You have to understand that each child is unique and you have to accept your child, their emotions, and certain unique behavior. But make sure you are not just nodding your head to everything to make them feel accepted!

Please make a note that we are not asking or suggesting you make any of these positive interactions at the cost of your respect and love for them. This magic ratio aims at one thing alone neither holding too tight nor letting them off the hook, it is all about the balance. And no one can check it better than you!

Perks of using 5:1 Ratio as Parents

5:1 the Magic Ratio is sure to reduce the parent-child conflicts that might currently be tempering your relationship with your child. But is that it? NO! There are more benefits of this magic ratio which includes:

  • Providing a safe and healthy environment to flourish in.
  • Creating a strong and positive bond between you and your child.
  • Increasing the likelihood of them listening to you and coming to you for advice.
  • Limiting the instances of punishments.
  • Building a strong parent-child relationship.
  • Making them respect you, your rules, and boundaries genuinely.
  • Preventing the conversations to escalate to a destructive level.
  • Helping the child develop a positive outlook for self and others.
  • Aiding in developing confidence and resilience.
  • Reducing the instances of self-destructive behavior in children.

It might seem like a lot to do because we are automatically tuned to say more NOs than YES (at least to kids). But with this guide of applying the 5:1 ratio to your parenting rituals, you will soon see the changes in the bond that you share with your child. Now it is time for you to dissolve this parent-child conflict and bring in positivity!

5 1 rule of parenting

P.S.: Remember parenting is all about the little efforts you take to bloom your relationship.

About The Author

Anjali Singh
Anjali Singh

Anjali Singh is a content curator in the field of Mental Health. She is currently done Ph.D. in Psychology. Her aim is to light up the world with positive vibes through her words, her idea of life is ‘Grow through what you go through’. Apart from this, she is a big-time pet lover.

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