Conflicts start at a young age; whether it’s a fight over toys or who spilled what, disagreements are inevitable. When kids go to school, they face conflicts over friends, who gets to pick the game, ride the playground equipment, etc. In the course of the conflict, feelings can get hurt, and your engirlneer may choose to not say anything for fear of losing her friends or making them mad. These fights may even turn physical or extremely hurtful, and you want to do something about it before someone really gets hurt. However, before you go to the teacher or even the friend’s parents, give your engirlneer the opportunity to resolve the conflict on her own. You, as her parent, won’t be able to fight all her battles for her. Encourage her to talk with her friend. Teach her that no one has the right to put someone else down, and that if she and her friend can’t resolve the conflict, then she should just stop hanging out with that friend.
If she has conflicts in school with teachers or coaches, make her do the initial talking to figure out a resolution. This will also teach her to resolve conflicts with people in an authority position, and can help her develop skills for her career. Let her have a voice and encourage her to use it proudly. She should stand up for what she believes in, and fight for it.
In her career, your engirlneer will need to advocate for herself in order to get a job and move up within her career. From the start, she will need to talk about her skills and accomplishments; most importantly, she will need to negotiate her salary. Companies want to save money and are not in the business of giving someone more than they have to. Your engirlneer will have to tell a company why she is worthy of a better salary. Her starting salary will have a huge impact on her overall earnings throughout her career. Someone who starts out earning $55,000 will earn almost $128,000 more over 20 years than someone who starts out earning $50,000 (at a 2.5% increase/year).
Your engirlneer will also face conflicts with her coworkers and her supervisors. There will be times when others take credit for her work. There will be times when she gets blamed for something going wrong when she had very little control over it (if any, at all). There will be times where she is “rewarded” for her good work by being given someone else’s work to do because they do a poor job. Her coworker will then be “punished” by getting paid to do nothing. Your engirlneer needs to have enough confidence to talk with her supervisor about the situation, and to advocate for her best interests.
Women have a hard time advocating for ourselves. We just don’t like talking about our accomplishments. For us, doing a good job is inherent, not something to be praised. So how do you teach your engirlneer to advocate for herself? Teach her how to PREPARE for instances when she will need to advocate for herself. She needs to write down the reasons why she deserves to be treated better, paid better, etc. She needs to have examples supporting her arguments. Then she needs to practice. Help her prepare by listening to her arguments. Encourage her to be relaxed and calm, but firm. Frequently ask her about something that she feels proud of, and why it makes her feel proud. And lastly, don’t put her down if she does tell you something amazing she did. Let her brag just a little.
No one really wants conflict in their lives, but the fact is that it exists in nearly every aspect of our daily lives. The earlier your engirlneer learns how to successfully navigate through these issues, the happier she will be.