4 Steps to help Children Manage Conflict

None of us can go through life without having either conflict within ourselves or with others. I am beginning to notice that children are becoming less adept with managing conflict, either they rush to inform adults or call the other children names.

In your family, how do you manage conflict, do you avoid it? Do you talk about it, is it okay to have a different opinion in your home?

Here are 4 Steps to help them now:

  1. Teach them about stress and calm down.

When we are stressed ( go limbic) we lose our capacity to think and we can either freeze or say something we really regret.

Help them to:

  • Understand the stress response and help them to have an emotional language.
  • Teach them scenarios using puppets and role playing.
  • To breathe
  • Count to 1- 50
  • To give themselves a bit of “time out” for calm down
  • Learn to go and play with someone else.

   2.  Help them to name and label the problem

Stress the importance of  being honest and using I statements, it could look like this

  • When you told me I was stupid, I felt hurt
  • I felt left out when you played with………

3. Teach them the Art of Apology.

  • Model this at home, we all make mistakes and if we say sorry, it gives them permission to say sorry too.
  • They need to ensure no if’s and buts…….
  • Learn to take full responsibility for the action, how they messes up
  • Say meaningful sorry and teach them to say ” is there anything I can do to make it better”?
  • Some children may need to write it down first and remember young children have limited language skills.

4. Give Space to children finding their own solutions

Don’t jump in, encourage problem solving, you could say something like:

“I want to help but I want to see if you may work it out for yourselves first.”

“What do think is going on”

If all else fails, help them and then use the scenario later to see if they can reflect on it and think what they may do differently next time. If it works, praise them!!!

Good luck, many of use struggle with conflict even as adults so help your children now, you will be building their resilience !

Let me know what you think or have tried. With love Catherine

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