We all have our own truths. But conflict often arises when we think our truths are the only truths. It’s easy to get stuck in our own perspective.

The Blueprint is a tool for understanding and overcoming conflict. The tool uses a series of questions to get each person to look at the conflict from the other person’s perspective as well as their own. When used consistently, the Blueprint builds empathy and understanding for the individual. In a family, it can reduce conflict and create a more positive family culture. (Download a pdf of the Blueprint.)

If you see your young children arguing, you can use the Blueprint questions to ascertain each child’s perspective. By encouraging kids to reflect on different points of view, the questions help children take a closer look at the emotions of everyone involved. Often, we make assumptions about what other family members are feeling or what their intentions are, when we could be entirely wrong.

Older children can fill out a Blueprint on their own, and with some coaching, examine one another’s perspective. Once “blueprinting” becomes a routine way of understanding one another and handling conflict, kids can use the skills in any situation more intuitively. This process can help develop thinking skills and transfer to understanding conflicts in the larger world.

Developing the ability to better understand our child’s point of view is a pivotal parenting skill that helps us stay connected to our children, and them to us. The Blueprint process can help parents respond to situations more intelligently — by first considering their child’s perspective, along with their own. In this way, both parent and child can feel respected and understood.

The Blueprint moves the focus from “me” and “my feelings” to one of “us” and “our feelings,” thereby building empathy and compassion in the family. This, in turn, can greatly reduce conflict and repair difficult relationships.

This is part of a series about tools used in the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence’s RULER program (@emotionallyintelligentschools). RULER is a research-based program used by schools to develop emotional intelligence skills in all educators, staff, students, and their families. The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence uses the power of emotions to create a more effective and compassionate society. Check out their other helpful tools.


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