Early interventionists know service coordinators wear several hats. We are advocators, coordinators, problem solvers, and mediators. Service coordinators are leaders in the IFSP process and active listeners to parents and providers. We have to be creative and sometimes think outside the box to help children reach their greatest potential.
Service coordination has many rewards and challenges. A few of the rewards we encounter include empowering our families and watching them advocate for themselves. It is also rewarding connecting families to resources and watching those resources enhance the life of the family. Along with the rewards also come conflicts. We deal with conflicts and manage difficult situations while keeping the process family focused. When team members (including the family) disagree the potential for conflict arises. A service coordinator handles these situations keeping the perspective on the priorities of the family and facilitating decisions that are in the best interest of the child and family.
So how do we begin to manage difficult situations?
Discuss with the family any changes within the family routine or family priorities that would impact service provisions.
Asking about changes that may be taking place can open up a new line of communication with a family. When a family is able to discuss changes whether positive or negative it empowers the family to make decisions about services that would be beneficial to the child as well as the family. This form of communication will assist in determining if services need to be reviewed, if outcomes need to be updated or changed, or if other supports and services need to be put in place.
Make sure you understand what the issue or concern really is.
Talk with the parent or the provider one on one to clarify issues and concerns. This conversation should be concrete, direct (in a professional manner) and clear. Prior to IFSP meetings have a detailed conversation with the parent and provider to ensure that you are prepared going into the IFSP meeting in case there are situations that need to be addressed.
Discuss ways to handle issues as a team.
Help the provider or family member figure out ways to deal with the situation so that everyone is comfortable with the outcomes. In most cases helping the family and/or provider figure out how to solve the issue themselves will not only give them skills to handle situations in the future but also empower them to speak out. A service coordinator’s job is to help facilitate the discussion in an honest and direct manner and model the ways to come to a resolution.
In cases where there are disagreements among team members and a decision is unable to be reached, it is alright to end an IFSP meeting, take a break and reschedule the IFSP meeting for another day.
This will give a chance for all team members to step back, think about everything that has been said and come back together calmly to make a decision. This will also give the service coordinator a chance to discuss the situation with all team members separately and revisit the facts.
Consider the following questions:
What strategies do you use when facing conflicts?
How might you implement one of the above strategies when faced with a conflict or difficult situation?
You know, I agree that a direct, professional approach seems to be the most effective. When SCs clarify, restate the problem and then coach families and team members to resolve the conflict, the SCs is teaching skills that can be used throughout the life span.
What strategies do you use when facing conflicts?
How might you implement one of the above strategies when faced with a conflict or difficult situation?
When facing conflicts in group settings, I think the best thing to do is to evaluate each different side’s opinions as a group and come to a consensus and agreement on what the best decision is based on the array of choices. Moreover, I think different sides to an argument can get confused as to how each group is thinking which is why many disagreements and conflicts arise. Furthermore, I think it is important to get each individual’s opinion as well as why and how they came to certain conclusions. Finally, if I were a service provider, I think I would implement the “make sure you understand what the issue or concern really is” strategy because I believe a lot of communication can distort how families portray what they really want or need. In conclusion, I would implement this strategy in a difficult situation by remembering to clarify what I think the family is trying to portray with what they are actually saying to me.
Yes, considering all sides of the disagreement is key here. Thanks Ethan!
I would stay calm! I feel as if most times being upset is the problem causing attitude instead of first remaining focusing on the issue at hand. Also focusing on all sides of the disagreement is crucial to make sure everyone is heard and given a fair chance to explain their side. It would be the first step of coming to a middle ground
I am taking a course called Introduction to Early Childhood Intervention. If I was a service provider and was faced with conflict I would first calm down and try to understand every part of the conflict. Then I would look up solutions or resources and come up with plans that I can talk about with the family. I would mention the pros and cons of the plan. I really do like the strategy of handling the situation with the family. It is really important that they are able to solve issues and be able to speak out. This will help them when you are not present and as a service provider, it’s important to help the family and children become independent.
Thanks Sania. You got it! The importance of fostering the family’s independence with problem-solving and getting their children’s needs met without us is a key goal of ECI!
Hello. I am also taking an Early Childhood Intervention class. If I were a service provider, I would truly need to listen and understand the different perspectives others may have. Most importantly, we must listen to the family and their concerns. Our primary focus is the child, and what the family needs/wants. As well, it is difficult sometimes as individual may hear what others believe in doing instead of actually listening. Second, I would like to hear the input others may have on how to deal with the conflict/situation at hand. A diverse group of people can bring about even better solutions than we can expect. As the service provider, it is important to facilitate honest and open communication between the team and family. Ultimately, resolving the issue and finding the best solution is the wanted outcome.
Great suggestion to hear the input of other team members. Sometimes it can be hard to reach out to others when struggling with a difficult situation but that’s exactly when team support can be so beneficial!
When faced with challenges, I always try to obtain the viewpoints of all members and try to keep a unbiased and outsider perspective to help resolve the situation. Putting in one’s bias or opinions can always hinder the process of finding a resolution. I would try to discuss other options with the family, so that they understand there are other choices that can be made and discuss the benefits or consequences of each choice. When faced with a difficult conflict, I think a really good strategy to implement from above would be make sure you understand what the concern really is because if you don’t understand the family’s concern, it could lead to a much longer process and more frustration on both parties when trying to find a compromise. By discussing the issue in the beginning, it will make it easier on the family and the service coordinator to find a solution.
Yes, trying your best to remain objective and listen to all points of view is so important. Repeating back what you think you heard or what you understand the problem to be is a great place to begin!
If I were in a conflict as a service coordinator, I would first get into a calm state. It is very easy for any human being to become very frustrated and distressed while in a conflict or while trying to solve a difficult problem. Because service coordinators work with all kinds of families and children everyday, it is important to have a confident and calm attitude because the family and child feed off your aura. If they see someone who is frustrated and distressed, the family is also likely to get frustrated because they see the person who is helping them as that. Having a calm demeanor and being confident that you are going to be able to solve the problem is the first step of solving any conflict. With this confidence, you can go into the conflict feeling more positive that you will be able to solve it with the help of the support you need.
Such a great point – to pay attention to your own state and what you bring to the situation!
If I was a service provider, I would first try to listen to the parent to let them know they are still valued as a member of the team despite disagreements and conflicts. I believe effective communication is very important to enhance team functioning and further progress. In order to achieve this, I would try to hear the opinions of both sides. I also think it is important to not steer away from the main focus of the meeting(making a plan that is best for the child and the family) and still respect each other in any conversations. After listening to the parent, I would acknowledge their good intentions and goals. Then, I would give them other suggestions, while not necessarily trying to convince them or correct them.
You’ve done a great job of describing the role that service coordinators play during team meetings. Providing information while remaining objective, respectfully hearing all team members’ input, listening to the parent, keeping the meeting in focus and on track – these are such important jobs of the team leader!
When I am facing conflict, I always listen to the other person’s perspective and then respond when I have an understanding of what they are trying to communicate. It is very easy to tune out the individual you are supposed to be listening to and, rather, distracting yourself while thinking of your own response. This completely defeats the purpose of having the conversation to resolve the situation in the first place. This is why I really appreciated the strategy that placed emphasis on having an understanding of the issue/concern. By having that, you are able to respond appropriately and provide assistance or resources that will genuinely help the family overcome or better understand the issue. There is nothing more frustrating than having a serious conversation with someone, listening to their response, and realizing they have no clue as to what is going on. I can see this being even more sensitive when it comes to discussions regarding the welfare of the child during teem meetings. It is always important to provide your undivided attention during times of conflict and then work together to come to a solution.
Yes, providing your undivided attention can be especially challenging in a difficult situation but is so important!
As a service coordinator, when coming across a conflict of ideas, I have to first recognize that the families’ concerns or disagreements are valid. It would be unfair if I disregarded their reasons of being unsatisfied with the IFSP or with my performance. After recognizing that they have a concern, I would paraphrase what they had told me just to make sure that I understood how they feel. I want to make sure that I am on the right page with them. I then will take what I have understood an show what they are dealing with potentially from a different perspective. Keep in mind, while I am doing this, I have to avoid bias, personal opinions, and remain professional even when the conversation becomes difficult. I may even see family members starting arguments with me or with each other. If that is the case, then I redirect them to understanding the main reason why we are here talking. I would remind them that their goal is their child’s success. By nature, the early childhood intervention and IFSP process can be quite stressful. As a result, this stress can lead to conflicts within the family. Therefore, if conflict becomes a constant element within the family, I may suggest applying a support system or even a referral to family counselor to help them work things out.
Lots of great suggestions in your comment. Thanks!
If I were a service provider, I would first and foremost create an environment where we can have healthy discussion even with disagreement. Ultimately, the reason tensions are running high is because everyone cares deeply. With that as a jumping off point it may be easier to realize we all have the same goal and that together we can formulate a plan that will work best for the child together. Getting multiple perspectives from both family members and other ECI members makes sure that all perspectives are being accounted for and that the more cooperation there is the better off the child will be. However, if a situation does ever get to intense I would reschedule it for another day so everyone could calm down and think about what the true purpose of the meeting is.
That’s a good point about everyone caring deeply. How we feel about a situation certainly drives how we interact in it. Taking a breather and acknowledging commonalities are great strategies.
If I were a service provider, I would try my best to handle conflict in a way that is not harmful to any relationships. I believe that miscommunication is the cause conflict a majority of the time. Therefore, talking about the issue upfront is one way to help resolve the conflict. It is important to not keep any disagreements under the rug and to instead be open about any concerns. In addition, it is important to be mindful of the other person and their thoughts and feelings. Being conscious of this will help to resolve any disagreements.
Yes, good communication is an essential component of teaming and a required skill for service coordinators!
If I were a service provider faced with a conflict, I think I would try to get the perspective of each team member and family member and speak to them individually, if needed, to resolve the conflict. Because we are all human, emotions can get in the way when we try to resolve conflicts and we might not able to express our true thoughts or feelings so I think it’s important to step away from the situation and listen to everyone’s perspective. If I were a service provider and were to use any of the above strategies to resolve a conflict, I think I would try to listen and understand what the issue or concern really is. It can be difficult when you don’t know the cause of an issue and two people might think they know why the other is upset but no one will really be sure if there is no communication. Therefore, I think it’s really important to hear what a family’s true concern might be or what a service provider’s concern might be so that everyone can work together to solve the real issue and work to make the child and the family’s experience go smoothly.
The strategies I would use as a service coordinator when facing a conflict first and foremost would be to keep the main goal and the purpose of the IFSP team very present. In knowing what we, as a team, are working towards, I believe we are better able to understand why disagreements arise. I say “we” because the child’s and family’s success is not based on one profession or any one individual. It is an interrelated system in which each individual brings a very critical piece of information or skills-based approach to the IFSP team and IFSP outcomes. So, if I were a service provider when faced with a conflict or difficult situation, I would make sure to discuss ways to handle issues as a team because it’s an opportunity to understand how the concerns of each team member has the potential to affect the child’s and family’s outcome, whether positive or negative.
Great point! Yes, the team dynamic, that “interrelated system” as you said, is one of the beautiful things about EI!
Some strategies I use when facing conflict is making sure that everyone’s side, point of view, and suggestions are heard. I believe this can be respectfully done and is necessary to eliminate any confusion or misunderstandings. I also make sure to be considerate and try to understand why a certain perspective is important to the person. A strategy I would use that was mentioned in the article is to take a break and reschedule the IFSP meeting. I agree that it gives each person the chance to get the facts straight, and I believe a later meeting will give the team members enough time to calm down and consider how they will convey their concerns and suggestions.
Yes, sometimes making the decision to reschedule can be a hard one “in the moment” because of challenges with team members’ schedules but as you said, that pause may make for a much more productive meeting next time. Thanks Jenieve!
One of the two biggest ways that I address conflict is actually through two of the strategies that you addressed above. First, having a direct and professional conversation with the other party involved is so crucial. All opinions/sides are able to be properly communicated and it is very important that both parties feel like they were able to share their side. Secondly, taking a step back from a situation of disagreement to think about both your own side/opinion and the other’s is so important. Emotions can take the wheel sometimes in disagreements which creates a lack on understand and communication between both parties. Sometimes it is best to revisit the topic after taking time to rethink the topic and find the most efficient way to tackle the issue. Especially in the field of IFSP and service coordinators emotions run high through the family almost every day, having patience and understanding when entering into a situation as so can ensure effective communication and outcomes.
Yes, so true. Thanks for joining the conversaton, Kalina!
When facing conflicts, it is important to listen to all sides of the situation. This way, everyone feels heard and understood. If presented a team issue I would make sure to talk to each party and then reconvene as a group after. This eliminates the opportunity for either party to feel uncomfortable stating how they feel. From there, the issue needs to be defined, all concerns need to be heard, and a resolution needs to be found. Of course, this is easier said than done but with the right strategies a fair resolution would be achieved. I personally would make it a point to not give the answer to the provider or family member. This would ensure that they would then have the tools to figure something like this out for themselves in the future. Working through the issue as a team ensures that everyone participates in the process of finding a solution in a fair way.
There are many strategies that I use when faced with a problem. These include stepping away from the task at hand to clear my mind, asking others for their outside opinion, as well as trying to obtain all the knowledge about whatever situation is at hand so that I can make an informed decision or conclusion. One situation where these strategies would be used is if family members within the same family do not particularly agree on IFSP outcomes for the child in question. Another may be that the family is so overwhelmed that it is hard for them to make a decision because of other aspects of their life beings stressful at the moment.
I think your suggestions for conflict management between the families and service providers are great and also work well in situations outside of ECI. I think as a service coordinator, one must remain neutral in these situations but also make sure that both parties feel heard and supported. By having a direct and professional conversation with each party involved, one is able to understand how they feel and think of solutions on how to make everyone happy. Taking a step back from the conflict is also good in that it prevents tensions from flaring and allows for both parties to sit on their feelings and think of ways to articulate them that are productive.
I really enjoyed reading this blog post and the especially enjoyed reading the joys and rewards of being a IFSP service coordinator. When I am faced with conflict I usually take a day or so to critically think about the situation at hand, and then decide how to appropriately proceed. Confronting the situation in a respectful and considerate manner is key to finding a solution. A strategy I might use would be to “discuss ways to handle as a team”. This strategy is important in all conflict resolution because it instills confidence in both parties that together, we can come up with a solution.
If I were a service provider facing conflict with a family, my goal would be to actively listen to the family’s concerns and provide a space where everyone is heard. Communication is crucial in order to resolve conflict. Miscommunication may be a factor in the rise of this conflict, so giving time for everyone to share their perspective on the situation may clarify key information that may have been missed. I would also need to remind myself to be more open-minded about the situation and consider any biases that I may have that may cloud my judgment on the matter. With patience, communication, and an open-mind, a healthy discussion may be shared in order to come to a conclusion that works best for everyone.
Thank you so much for this blog post. I feel like we don’t hear about the harder parts of being a service coordinator as often as we hear about the better parts of the job. This can often lead to missed expectations and then causes the job to be harder towards the beginning because it is shocking. If I were in the middle of the disagreement I would set up meetings with each of the professionals on the team, along with the child’s caregivers to listen to what their individual goals are. Then, I would schedule a meeting for the team to share their ideas and verbalize what they have been feeling. I would go on to remind them that the team’s goal is for the child to progress. I think communicating professionally and clearly is most important in these tough situations.
When facing conflict in general I think listening is the most important aspect so that I could understand the hurt and pain behind the other person’s argument and so that I could know how to tackle the situation. When facing a difficult conversations discussing the issue as a team is the best way I would approach the situation to use an array of perspectives. Similarly, I would approach it with an unbiased angle and receive the most information I could so that I would be able to handle the conflict with the child’s interest at the heart.
I enjoyed reading your blog post. One of the strategies I would use when facing conflicts is communication. I would ask the parent and others on my team what can be done to improve the current situation. I believe good communication is key to solving any problem and really listening to what the parents concerns / frustrations are may help alleviate the problem. I would use your strategy of helping the parent come to their own conclusion and handle their own situation because this way the parent would feel more in control. As you stated, the service coordinator should only facilitate and the parent should focus on leading the process. In making sure the parent takes control, it might help alleviate conflict.
When facing conflict, I find that addressing the issue(s) in private is important. Often, addressing the issue privately allows all parties involved to express their feelings and intentions in a safe environment without judgement from outside parties. Additionally, I think that active listening by repeating back your understanding of the issues and statements is important. In this manner you clarify your own understanding and give the other person or people an opportunity to correct any misinterpretations. Much like what was mentioned, you “make sure you understand what the issue or concern really is” and you can act accordingly.
As a people pleaser who used to dread just the thought of conflict, I have slowly understood that being honest and direct when faced with conflict will most often times achieve the outcomes you desire. And when working with families, a service coordinator that has great interpersonal skills in the face of conflict will most likely achieve the greatest results. I believe this means making the family feel valued and respected by taking their perspective into account and having both parties explain and analyze their point of view. Most importantly, child outcomes are key when conflicted in regards to approaches, because the parents and service coordinator need to always take the child’s main needs into account.
When facing conflicts such as that with the family or team members, I would first look to make sure everyone is educated on the sequence and important it is for the child’s development that they proceed with this route. Furthermore, I would want to hear the perspective of the opposing party and see why they my disagree and I would want the opposing party to know why I believe my suggestion is important. As a result, I would come up with a solution where both parties are satisfied and the procedure for the child is continued.
I love the idea of proactively asking about any changes that could be causing difficulties for the family or for the routine. I think one of the most important parts of conflict resolution is coming from a perspective of truly wanting to understand the person on the other side and then making sure the line of communication is open so that you can work as a team to find a solution.
What strategies do you use when facing conflicts?
What I would do when facing conflict is above all maintain calm. Once I am calm, I think the next step would be to foster open communication with the family so viewpoints could be shared honestly. Once that is done, I would try to find a solution in which all parties could agree on and move forward with that one.
How might you implement one of the above strategies when faced with a conflict or difficult situation?
I think when conflict arises, it is extremely important as a service coordinator to really understand what the issue and concern is. In order to reach a solution, we would need to have that open communication so we can truly understand one another and see what is going on. So, when conflict arises, I would first allow everyone to voice their opinion and concerns. Once everyone has said their share, we can move on to thinking about solutions we can all embark on together.
If I was a service coordinator and met with a conflict, I would first make sure I understand the conflict. I would then listen to as many perspectives as possible and sit down with the family to talk about their priorities in coming up with a plan. I feel that by having the family be a part of the problem-solving process makes it easier for families to voice their opinions and needs and also help them grow to be independent when approaching a problem even without a service provider. Additionally, I believe it would be important for the service provider to help the families recognize the role of an IFSP and that it is a team effort where disagreements can happen but it is important to see differing opinions and respect each other.
Hello! I am taking a course called Introduction to Early Childhood Intervention. If I was a service provider and was faced with conflict I would first make sure to remain calm and collected. After doing so, I would try to understand every aspect of the conflict. This would allow me to look up resources on how to help the family further and find a solution. The importance of fostering the family’s independence with problem-solving and getting their children’s needs met without me present is something I would aim to fulfill.
When facing conflict, I have always found it reasonable to allow everyone a chance to say their side. That way, each person has a chance to be heard and have a voice. A suggestion I would implement above as a service provider is “in cases where there are disagreements among team members and a decision is unable to be reached, it is alright to end an IFSP meeting, take a break and reschedule the IFSP meeting for another day.” Breaks can be a good thing and allow each person to self-reflect and come back to recollect conversation when everyone has had time to cool down and think.
As a member of the Early Childhood Intervention course, I can imagine how difficult overcoming conflicts can be in a family-oriented occupation. Active listening is crucial while interacting with the families, and listening is also important to resolving or mitigating conflicts. Understanding the situation at hand, the problem of interest, and feasible solutions would be my first step as a service coordinator when dealing with conflicts. Once I can comprehend the overall situation, giving people time to think of and accept a solution will improve discussions in which there are disagreements. An example of implementing one of the strategies mentioned in the blog is discussing the solutions with the family and hearing their concerns. Once this is done, I could choose a solution and explain it in a way that will simultaneously help the family while alleviating any of their fears.
I agree with the strategy that it is important to be able to address changes, positive or negative, with the child’s family. Maintaining an open line of communication with the family is critical, particularly when addressing areas for improvement, as any changes will benefit the child. This could be linked to the strategy of attempting to really comprehend the family’s concern. Using a combination of these methods emphasizes understanding the problem and feeling comfortable discussing it with the family, allows the service coordinator to respond appropriately and provide the required knowledge, assistance, or resources to help the family solve or better understand the issue, and, eventually, help the child toward their IFSP outcomes.
If I were a team member, in order to solve any conflicts, I would remind everyone involved that we are a team, working to better the life of the child and family. I would be professional, but also remind the team that everyone has the option to have their voice heard. Sometimes, the IFSP meeting would just have to be rescheduled so everyone can calm down, regroup, and decide what is most important to each team member.
I tend to take a direct approach when facing conflict, which I believe would be beneficial when working within the EIS field. It’s important to remember that caregivers are part of the team and as such should be treated as equals. I can see how disagreements could arise with this kind of topic because of the sensitive nature of deciding how to best help a child. However, I believe that emphasizing the need to handle issues as a team as well as the ability to step away from disagreements to recoup would be extremely beneficial for the process.
I think an important part of this post is the idea that service coordinators should help empower families to solve issues themselves. Families should be able to adapt to large issues, and the service coordinators can help provide tools. However, ECI ends and families will still have difficult situations after ECI. Thus, helping the family think of strategies to overcome difficult situations is much more important than attempting to fix the problem yourself.
I like the efficiency in this approach. Having a direct and open conversation can bring to light any conflict or areas of tension for the family so issues can be dealt with. Remember key ideas in this article such as understanding and discussing are major components in conflict resolution. Being prepared for difficult situations is a critical skill. If I was a service coordinator, I would remind myself and my team to remain calm, clear-headed, and empathetic when meeting with the family. Early on it is essential to create a relationship with the family where they feel comfortable to come forward with any issues they have without fear of judgement. I would try to understand all sides in a disagreement.
When faced with conflict, I like to gather my thoughts while being alone. I feel like this gives me time and a safe space to calm down and gather what is going on and how every party is feeling. I then, usually, decide whether or not to confront the conflict. A suggestion mentioned that I would implement if I was a service provider would be to “discuss ways to handle issues as a team.” I would do so by gathering as a group and hearing all sides of the story. This makes sure that every team member involved is comfortable with the outcomes.
Whenever I’m facing a conflict with a colleague I always like to speak my side and why I think _____, then I give them time to explain their side and their reasoning behind their opposition (without interrupting them). I make sure both points are made that way the other person knows where Im coming from and vice versa. One of the strategies mentioned above that I could implement in a conflict whenever a decision can’t be made is rescheduling the meeting for another day, I believe that taking a break will be good for the both of us, that way we can further think about the situation by ourselves. And sometimes people can get pretty mad during a conflict, and a conflict will never be resolved if anger is in the way.
I would remain calm and unbiased, and get everyone’s opinions. There will not be a perfect solution, but after listening to everyone’s opinion, we can get to a near perfect solution for this child. Also always allow breaks in between to allow everyone to calm down and reflect on themself.
If I were a service provider facing conflicts, I would want to hear the various perspectives of each individual member of the IFSP team. I think it’s important to take into consideration parents’ and other members’ concerns, frustrations, and suggestions and help them establish a mutual agreement. I would implement the strategy of discussing ways to handle issues as a team because I think it’s important for everyone’s voice to be heard. This will ensure that everyone is comfortable, confident, and in accordance with the outcomes. As the post mentions, “helping the family and/or provider figure out how to solve the issue themselves will not only give them skills to handle situations in the future but also empower them to speak out.” Communication is key to solving problems and miscommunication can often be the cause of those problems. As a service coordinator, it’s crucial to help facilitate the discussion in an honest and direct manner and model the ways to come to a resolution.
I think it’s important to remember that everyone has a unique perspective and everyone deserves to be heard out. I like the idea of meeting with team members individually to make sure everyone feels and is heard. Ending the IFSP meeting and allowing time for these individual meetings would probably be very beneficial.
When facing conflicts, I try to dissect the problem at hand and take it one step at a time. Often times, when feeling overwhelmed, a pretty simple issue can snowball into a bigger conflict than necessary. It is key to remain level-headed and to assess what the best way to handle the situation is once you have had time to process the problem at hand. When faced with a difficult situation, I could make sure I truly understand what the parents’ concern is by going over the IFSP goals multiple times to potentially clarify any issues or concerns. I would make sure to remain concrete, direct, and clear, and make sure I am prepared for each IFSP meeting.
I think in these cases, the upmost important thing to consider is the mission of the IFSP. Beyond the conflict, a child’s development is at stake; therefore, it is important to establish clear lines of communication and allow space for everyone’s point of view to be heard. It is easy to claim superiority in a disagreement, but IFSP works through teamwork. It is important to remember we are not competing against each other, but instead working collaboratively as a team.
For service providers, I think it is important to communicate our conflicts between colleagues as disagreements are bound to happen. I would want to be open to everyone’s opinions and either find a compromise or at least start the conversations about everyone’s concerns. A way to implement this strategy is to clearly communicate when you and other colleagues should meet to discuss the issue. Once everyone is able to meet at a sufficient time, it is important to communicate any issues, frustrations, or disagreements in a calm and understanding manner so that a compromise can be reached.
We were taught that both EI specialist/workers and the family are equal team members of finding the best strategies for the child’s development. However, there can be times when co-workers and/or families come to a disagreement. Generally, everyone wants to be heard, but if someone feels left out, it can lead to tension and unsolved conflicts. While working with intervention services, I think prioritizing a safe and inviting space is effective for openness and mature discussions.
I believe two crucial skills to managing difficult situations and disagreements is the ability to listen and the ability to mediate. I believe if I was Service Coordinator, the ability to listen will aid in identifying what the problem is and receiving everyone’s input to resolve in a manner that pleases everyone. If this is not possible, it is then important to be able to mediate and learn that it is okay to end a meeting early.
If I were a service provider faced with a problem, I believe I would strive to understand each team member’s and family member’s perspectives and, if necessary, speak to them individually to settle the conflict. If things get too heated, I would take a break and reschedule the IFSP meeting. I would revisit the topic after all parties have had time to rethink their opinions. It is vital for a service coordinator to always remain respectful and open-minded. This sets a positive example and will encourage others to behave the same.
In order to address a current conflict, there needs to be a collective intention and understanding with all members of the team. I would integrate the skill of in cases where there are disagreements among team members and a decision is unable to be reached, it is alright to end an IFSP meeting, take a break and reschedule the IFSP meeting for another day. I would allow for everyone, the team members and the family, to allow themselves a minute to come together with different goals and strategies so a resolution can be reached. Personally for me, I have always been a person where I need time to process and reconvene so I can strategize and understand my intentions and purposes. I believe that is a very useful skill in conflict that will allowfor everyone to feel heard and seen.
When facing conflicts, I think it is very important to be slow to speak and quick to listen. In times of conflict, it is easy to become fixated on the point we’re trying to make, but in doing so, we run the risk of placing our point above all else. Because we have a clear understanding of our personal intentions as well as the importance or urgency of these intentions, we try to communicate that as best as we can to ensure that the other person fully understands us. However, we don’t always stop to make sure that WE are fully understanding that other person. This is one way I would implement strategy #2 (“Make sure you understand what the issue or concern really is”). One key way to ensure that we fully understand the issue/concern being presented is by actively listening to the points being made by others, reflecting their points back to them for clarification, and validating their emotions so that they do not feel like we are dismissing their concerns.
Hi Kimberly! Thank you for writing an informative blog post on how to deal with difficult situations. If I were in these situations of facing conflict, I would speak to the family member directly and ask questions of concern. Although direct, I would calm them about the situation and remind them what priorities are set. Priorities involve the child and the goals of the family. I like how you pointed out taking a break. Sometimes, a family member can just be having a bad day and lash out at a team member. It is important to have space and come back to address the problem on a different day.
When faced with a conflict, some strategies I use to facilitate myself is to take a moment and try to view the other person’s perspective. This allows me to take into account their feelings (parent, child, provider) and ideas before saying something rash. Another strategy I utilize is understanding alternate solutions to the one I have already come up with in my head. It is easy to view your own solution as the only option; however, it is important to see which solutions would work best for everyone involved, not just yourself. One way to implement one of these strategies when faced with a conflict is by listening. When you are able to understand the other person’s feelings and how something is affecting them, you can look up resources and find solutions on how best to help them.
When facing a conflict, I mainly focus on remaining level-headed and trying my best to be objective when evaluating each perspective on an issue. I believe this is one of the most important ways to open up communication and finding a beneficial solution, because it is avoiding letting any confrontational emotions from hindering what is best for the situation. It is best to communicate with everyone in a calm way and that is taking in each side equally. Therefore, if facing a difficult situation as a service coordinator, I would mostly implement the strategy of “make sure you understand what the issue or concern really is.” I believe this is important because sometimes things can be easily misinterpreted or misunderstood, and is met to foremost understand what is occurring in order to address it appropriately
What strategies do you use when facing conflicts? – When facing conflicts, I like to recalibrate the problem to being separate from the person I am having a conflict with. That way, we can move forward with the issue as if we were tackling it together. This also prevents professional and goal-oriented conflicts from becoming personal.
How might you implement one of the above strategies when faced with a conflict or difficult situation? – I think that we think best after we have had time to process information. Using the strategy of ending the IFSP meeting when no one is in agreement with each other is a great strategy as it allows people to mentally reset and remind themselves about what the issue really is. That way, everyone can go back to the issue with clear minds and better ideas handle to the situation.
I definitely agree that confronting the situation or addressing it is the right way to deal with a hard conflict, but I also think it is important to take into consideration what everyone else is saying. This is part of being a team member and agreeing to what is best not for them, but the child. The parent has the upmost right and responsibility for his/her child. Therefore communicating with them and addressing their concerns should be priority. Within different evaluations and assessments in the process, other workers who are working together to find solutions to the child’s need, must come into agreement for the best possibility for that child. They are the focus. No matter what the service coordinator thinks or has an opinion on, the child’s need should not be left out. I agree maybe there should be a break in between to calm everyone’s behavior or attitude toward the situation. I do not agree in that the IFSP meeting should end, because there has not been a solution or agreement found to what has been said. Scheduling another IFSP meeting would cause another day of work and everyone’s schedule might be busy. Taking all of these things into consideration I believe we can solve conflicts & will prepare us for other difficult times in our daily lives.
When facing conflict, I think it’s best to allow for everyone to express themselves and voice their opinion of how to solve the issue. Then, take a democracy vote after talking it out to see what would be beneficial for everyone and be fair. Giving everyone a safe space to feel like they’re being involved and heard is important.
When facing conflicts communication is the most key step to ensure a smoother outcome. Being an active listener as opposed to talking over one another can really make all the difference when facing conflict. When faced with a conflict or tricky situation It is best to communicate with the family and try to find a positive resolution, this can be done by actively listening to the family’s questions and concerns. I also find the taking space strategy to be helpful, sometimes people have bad days, and allowing people the space to have a bad day can make a big difference in resolvinng a conflict.
What strategies do you use when facing conflicts?
–> When facing conflicts, I find it important to get an outsider perspective on the situation. Perhaps there was a miscommunication that’s not clear to me in the moment, but easier to perceive by my friends/family/coworkers. I also find it very important to truly listen to the other party with whom you’re disagreeing, rather than focusing on your response. Often during arguments, we are only waiting to make our next point while the other person is expressing their feelings, without actually listening to them. Lastly, it’s important to remember the common goal despite the disagreement. More often than not, both parties want the same thing, but are disagreeing on how to achieve it.
How might you implement one of the above strategies when faced with a conflict or difficult situation?
–> I thought one of the key strategies was discussing with the family any changes in priorities or routines that may have given rise to the conflict in the first place. If there was some change but the service providers continue their services using an old plan, there may be friction and inefficiency. For example, if a parent starts disagreeing on how the service provider is supporting their child, the team (including the parent) should review the family’s objectives and make necessary adjustments to the service plan.
If I was a service coordinator I would work to actively listen to the family and try to validate how each side is feeling whenever possible. Being a mediator does not mean you have the complete ability to resolve the conflict alone, but you can play a huge part in finding the solution. In order to positively help it is important to maintain a calm environment. Letting the situation elevate to a point of tension too high can do more harm to the conflict. It is ok to suggest they reschedule a meeting or provide space for cooling down. Each side deserves to have their voice be heard.
Hello! I am taking a course in Early Childhood Interventions and we completed a unit on service coordination and the tasks, demands, and training required of this profession. From what I have learned about the job, it is very challenging and high reward. If I were a service coordinator, I would try and de-escalate conversations that begin to lose productivity by suggesting breaks and pushing the conversation back to the child. I would make sure to speak to the parent separately and develop a better understanding of the issues they may have to help them. If there were disagreements between providers for care for the child, I would host a meeting with the providers separately and make a pros and cons list to help the providers come to an agreement before speaking to the parents. I believe this would prevent future conflict.