Giving Children Tools for Conflict Resolution
Conflicts are a part of life. Conflicts are helpful in that they allow us to see problems and provide us with reasons to find solutions. They are both important and inevitable, which is why it is so important for us to teach our children to handle conflicts in a healthy, productive way. The next time that you see your child handling conflict, practice the following steps with them to help them find a beneficial decision!
The first step to resolving conflict is to make sure everybody has a chance to explain how they feel about the issue at hand and listening while the others express how they feel. Each person should try to put themselves in the perspective of the other to better understand why they feel the way they do.
- Avoid Making Things Worse
While discussing the conflict, insults and comments made with the intent to tear down, rather than build up, should be avoided. A calm, even voice should be used during discussion, and children should be reminded that is never appropriate to physically touch or hurt the other person’s body during conflict.
- Work Together
Use “I” statements to avoid placing blame on the other party. For example, make “I” statements, like: “I feel hurt when…”,”I need to feel or be…”. or “I hear what you are saying, but I feel…”.
Encourage your child to say what they feel without blaming the other person, take turns at speaking, and to talk quietly. Show your child what it means to “actively listen” by making eye contact, making listening noises, and repeating what you heard to ensure understanding.
- Find the Solution
Once the problem has been communicated, it is important for both parties to work together to find a mutually beneficial decision. It is important to brainstorm as many solutions as possible, even if some ideas seem silly. It is important for children to understand that in order for both parties to come away with satisfaction, compromise will be necessary for all involved.
By giving your child simple communication tools they can use whenever they encounter conflict, they become more adept at overcoming adversity with confidence, empathy, and critical thinking. The next time your child encounters conflict, encourage them to practice these steps!