Teach Kids to Resolve Conflicts Well
Peaceful conflict resolution is a skill you can teach your child. Begin by modeling positive ways to work through differences, and then consider these tips:
Teaching Conflict Resolution
- Teach your child to use “I” messages. This can be trickier than it sounds. You want your child to learn effective “I” messages, such as “I am mad that my toy is broken,” rather than “I hate that you broke my toy!” Effective “I” messages identify what a person is feeling and why without blaming.
- Focus on the conflict at hand. When people get upset, they tend to drag in past transgressions to fuel their anger. Focus on working through only the current conflict.
- Listen. Ask kids how they suggest the conflict be resolved. Too often, parents try to intervene too quickly and take charge of the situation. Give kids the chance to work through differences.
- Encourage kids to admit when they’ve made a mistake. It’s important for kids to realize when they’ve done something wrong and to admit it.
- Brainstorm specific solutions. When kids are new to resolving conflicts, they often don’t know how to solve them. Sometimes having an adult name a variety of solutions can help kids begin to think of what works for them—and what doesn’t. Over time (and with practice), they’ll come up with their own creative solutions.
- Praise your child when you see him resolving conflicts well. Resolving conflicts peacefully is a complex skill. Notice what your child is doing right (such as calming down before trying to talk it out) rather than what he is doing wrong.
Modeling effective conflict resolution skills and encouraging kids to peacefully address disagreements is the first step in raising kids who can effectively solve conflicts. By starting the process at home, you can ensure that your kids get started on the right track when it comes to conflict resolution.