We can’t get along with everyone all the time. It’s natural to argue and disagree with others from time to time. It’s almost impossible to avoid. Conflict resolution is a life skill that’s best learnt as early as possible.
Here are five easy ways we can teach our children to resolve conflict (and it works for us too!):
FIND SOME CALM
Sometimes, before any action can be taken, people involved in conflict need to take some time to calm down. This is especially true of children who often get very upset or angry when experiencing conflict with others. Teach them to take some big deep breaths and remove themselves from the situation to find some calm. Then, when emotions are back in check, you can start trying to solve the problem
TALK IT THROUGH
The best way to resolve conflict is to talk about it. Most arguments can be settled with a calm and rational conversation. Of course, kids sometimes need a little help calming down before they’re ready for this strategy so make sure you’ve allowed some time to find calm first. Children sometimes need adults to help start the conversation and to keep it civil. Allow each child to express their point of view and then come up with a solution together. Sometimes you just must agree to disagree, and that’s okay too.
FOCUS ON THE BEHAVIOUR
Solve the problem by focusing on the behaviour and not on the person. Conflicts involving children can quickly dissolve into name-calling and other hurtful behaviour. Help your child understand how they are feeling and focus on the behaviour that caused the problem. For instance, Ben doesn’t like the way Jack changed the game. Jack is still a nice person and Ben’s friend.
Conflict is best resolved using some problem-solving skills. It’s not only a great way to resolve most issues, but it’s also one of those skills your child can use throughout their life in a variety of situations. Help your child come up with some reasonable solutions to their problem with others. Ask questions like, how can this issue be resolved? What changes can be made so everyone is happy? Can you think of a solution that’s outside the box?
FIND YOUR OWN SPACE
Sometimes conflict can’t be solved straight away. Or at all. We all have different personalities and interests and it’s unrealistic to think that everybody is going to get along all the time. We can teach our kids how to remove themselves from stressful situations though. It’s perfectly okay to go and play with someone else for a while. Later, once everyone has calmed down, maybe those problem-solving skills can come in handy. Or maybe it’s best to avoid the situation that caused the conflict for a little while.
Conflict happens. It can usually be resolved with a bit of time and effort. It all starts with finding a little calm and then using problem-solving skills to find a solution that works for everyone.