Children get into squabbles at home and at school. It’s in their nature. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t show them how to resolve conflicts before they escalate. Conflict resolution is an important skill for any child to have whether they use it to solve playground mishaps or arguments between siblings.
To guide your children towards proper problem solving, here are five conflict resolution tips you can teach them:
- Teach them how to control their emotions:
Children can be incredibly reactive. Instead of asking another child why they’re causing problems, they usually jump to conclusions. You’ll hear “She stole my doll!” or “He took my crayon!” when it should be “Do you want to use my doll? I don’t mind as long as you give it back.” or “May I please have my crayon back?” Teach your children to remain calm in the face of conflict instead of rushing to scream and yell at the other party involved. Oftentimes, when one child is calm, the other child will calm down too and a conflict can be avoided altogether.
- Use “I” messages:
An important part of conflict resolution is letting each party share their side. Show your children how to use “I” messages when telling their side of the story. Let your child see how an “I” message that displays feeling is more powerful than a statement that displays anger. For example, instead of saying “Joey took my book and I hate him!” show your child that saying “I was unhappy when Joey took my book” provides a better way to get the other child involved to see how their actions are hurtful.
- Help them learn to listen:
Just as your child should use “I” messages to share their feelings, they also need to learn to listen to the other child’s “I” messages. Help your children learn to listen so they can fully understand why the conflict has arisen in the first place.
- Encourage teamwork when finding a solution:
Promoting fairness and showing your children how to work together to find a solution is a great conflict resolution tip. If your children are able to find a fair solution for their issue that satisfies both parties involved, you’ve done your job as a parent.
- Walk away and tell an adult when no solution can be reached:
Not every child is going to treat your child with respect. You can teach your child that in rare cases when they’ve tried all the above and the other child isn’t responding and continues to fuel the conflict, they can simply walk away. Walking away from a situation that could see your child getting hurt is never a bad idea. If a conflict cannot be resolved safely because the other child has become violent (verbally or physically), your child has every right to walk away. Show them that sometimes it’s okay to walk away and tell an adult before somebody gets hurt.
Everyone gets angry, but if you show your children that conflicts can be resolved easily, you’ll have very well-rounded children
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