Conflict Resolution for Children
Teaching our children about conflict resolution early in life will help them develop into emotionally healthy and stable adults, which will serve them well. In this article, we will explore this topic.
First, it is important to understand that children tend to react without thinking. These reactions often come in the forms of behaviours like crying, tantrums or screaming. In order to become effective conflict handlers, our children will have to move away from those reactions.
Here are some things we can suggest for them to do instead.
When we are faced with a conflict, the first thing we should do is take a moment to calm down, so we don’t react emotionally and later regret what we said or did.
Suggest taking three long, deep breaths before reacting to any situation. This will let your child relax and think about the situation.
After taking a few deep breaths, your child should really think about the situation. Is it worth getting upset over? Is their reaction warranted? This may be emotionally complex for your child, but it is worth a try.
Explain the Problem
After thinking about the problem, encourage your child to explain the problem. Are they upset because they are feeling left out? If yes, they should say so. Tell them to use “I” statements, as this will help ground their feelings and also encourage them to take responsibility for their actions.
Examples of “I” statements include:
- “I am upset because…”
- “I feel sad because…”
- “I don’t like what he did because…”
An apology may not be enough in some situations. Instead, a solution or compromise may be needed. For example, two children may have to agree to share a toy or take turns being leader in a game.
In this case, encourage the children to do a brainstorming session where they think up of ways to fix the conflict. Allow them to do so themselves, as this will teach them about problem-solving and help them grow emotionally.
After they come up with some ideas, let them present the ideas to each-other and come to an agreement themselves.
If your child follows and understands those steps, they will be able to resolve many of the conflicts that come their way!
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Here at Mindarie Keys Early Learning School, we help children grow, through learning, nurturing and care. If you have any questions about this article, or if you have any questions about our programs, feel free to contact us.