How to Spark It

Sat, 18 Dec, 2021

Conflict Resolution for Kids: 8 Strategies To Deal With Conflicts

Conflict resolution skills in kids play an essential role in their development process. These skills help them deal with conflicts in a systemised manner and further develop communication skills for kids.

We are here with eight great conflict resolution strategies to effectively help your child deal with conflicts.

It doesn’t matter whether your child struggles to cope with frustration, has difficulty finding solutions, or verbalise his feelings - he will learn how to deal with conflicts through these tactics.

8 Effective Ways To Teach Conflict Resolution to Kids

1. Teach the Stoplight Method

Let your child close his eyes and picture a stoplight. When he sees the red light, tell him to take deep breaths and think about something that calms him down. When the light turns yellow, ask him to evaluate the problem - can he handle the situation independently? Does he need an adult’s help? Tell him to come up with two solutions.

Finally, when the light turns green, tell your child to choose a strategy he thinks will work best for conflict resolution. Practising this method while your child is calm will help him remember the process.

2. Stating & Understanding the Problem

Calm down your child if he seems to panic. Once he is calm, talk to him and let him state the problem. Practise the importance of honesty and encourage your child to admit his role in the conflict. Understand his side of the conflict, but do not be biased.

3. Show Empathy

It is entirely natural for young kids to get overwhelmed with big emotions on minor issues, like fighting with their friends or having a slight disagreement within their friend circle. Although these situations seem unimportant to you, your child sees them as something huge.

Do not discourage your child by saying it is not a big deal. Instead, empathise with them. Show your child that you hear and understand what he is going through.

Tell him you are there for him. Parents shouldn’t always solve their child’s problems but provide them with a safe space to seek comfort.

4. Encourage Good Apology

If your child is at fault in the conflict, encourage them to apologise. It is normal for kids not to accept their mistakes. You should teach them the importance of admitting their mistakes and apologising.

You can give them different ideas of apologising, such as writing letters or simply writing the words “I’m sorry for my mistake.”

5. Practise Expressing Feelings

Young children are quick to react or blame someone in conflicts. Encourage them to practise expressing their feelings and having a healthy conversation for conflict resolution.

Teach your child to use the phrase “I feel” whenever his friends upset him. This focuses on how someone’s behaviour affects them without making it look like they are blaming someone.

6. Listening & Reflecting

Once your child expresses his side of the conflict, teach him that other people and their feelings are important. To resolve a conflict, both parties need to come to a mutual understanding.

So, introduce your child to the concept of active listening and reflecting upon their actions. Tell your child that conflict resolution will happen when they listen to other people’s side of the story and how they felt. Then tell him to reflect on his actions and see whether he has harmed the other person’s feelings in any situation.

7. Brainstorming Solutions

While you might get the urge to solve your child’s problems by telling him what to do, it is advisable to let your child brainstorm solutions. This will help him become a better problem solver.

To come up with solutions, encourage your child to listen carefully to what the other person in the conflict has to say and accurately paraphrase each other. Encourage him to speak and understand the other person’s side as well.

8. Move On

Moving on is more challenging than all the steps mentioned above, but when your child and the other person have come up with a solution, moving on shouldn’t be hard for them.

However, sometimes your child will find it hard to move on. The situations might include - not getting proper closure, when the other person did not care about your child’s feelings, or when the other person kept bringing up the conflict.

Even in such situations, ask your child to be the bigger person and move on. Moving on might simply comprise shaking hands or hugging the person.

Bottom Line

Experiencing conflicts is a part of life. By teaching these conflict resolution strategies, you prepare your child to cope up with upsetting situations by making them work through the obstacles.