Feb 10

Solving Conflict with a Coin Flip

This simple concept has rocked my world as a parent. Before I dive into why this idea was a game changer for me, I’ll start with a little background. I’m an only-child who has been thrown into the crazy world of raising two daughters. This means that as it relates to sibling dynamics, I have NO. IDEA. WHAT. I’M. DOING. Many times, when the girls are going at it for whatever reason, I find myself desperately searching my husband’s face for some type of sign that this raucous behavior is somehow normal. I mean, he’s one of three boys so he’s kind of an expert in these things. The conversation usually goes something like this…

Me: “Babe. Are you seeing this? Is this normal? They are fighting over a stinking Lego and I think we just entered World War III! Do something! Should we do something? What do I do?” (insert panic face, and lots of waving arms)

My husband: “Oh yea. It’s no big deal. Totally normal. My brother threw a brick at my other brother’s head once. This is nothing.” 

What??! My only-child head literally explodes.

To be very transparent, it’s not uncommon for our kids to have disagreements where they are forced to solve some type of conflict. It happens pretty frequently. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I actually wrote a blog on the importance of kids learning how to talk through conflict and compromise. But there are days when the back and forth between them, as it relates to making a decision about something, can feel exhausting.

For example, I don’t know about you, but even the smallest decisions like who is going to use the bathroom first to brush their teeth, can turn into crazy “she said, she said” volley matches. For a while, I used to try to reason through who should win the argument and that almost always ended up taking too long, and leaving one of the affected parties in a sour mood, feeling completely cheated out of their “rights”. 

Then, someone introduced me to the simple concept of flipping a coin. I know. I know. You’re thinking, “Really? This never occurred to you?” No, people. No, it didn’t.

But not only did the coin toss method begin solving simple disagreements between the girls with NO arguments (this blew my mind), it’s also Biblical!! Say what? You heard me right. It’s in the Bible. 

In Biblical times it was referred to as casting lots. But it was essentially the same as flipping a coin. People cast lots to help them make difficult and/or important decisions, and when they did this they were essentially trusting God with the outcome. 

Proverbs 16:33 MSG says, “Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.”

Proverbs 18:18 MSG also says, “You may have to draw straws when faced with a tough decision.”

According to Biblestudy.org, “The primary reason for casting lots was to render an impartial, unbiased decision on important matters. Once the lot was cast, no one could argue that the decision was the result of human intervention like nepotism, politics, favoritism, and so on.”

So if God created this method for resolving disputes or making decisions, why shouldn’t we use it as parents with our children? I can’t tell you how helpful this has been in de-escalating arguments and the best part is, whoever “loses” the toss can’t be mad at ME! I am no longer the bearer of bad news. One point for mom! 

So seriously moms, if you don’t already use this method with your kids. I highly recommend it. As a way of solving conflict, it’s heads and tails above anything else I’ve tried thus far.