Kids, as they grow up, face everyday problems and conflicts between their friends and family members. Our goal as parents is to educate our kids to identify these problems and develop problem-solving skills.
Children mustn’t ignore problems. Instead, they should implement conflict resolution strategies. Our kids must identify, accept, react, and resolve the conflict, but not react impulsively.
Parents can use several strategies such as listening, expressing feelings, apologizing, compromising, and walking away, as ways for children to deal with conflict.
5 Online Conflict Resolution Strategies for Children
Conflict resolution strategies bring our kids the possibility to think about the conflict between siblings, friends, and family members and find methods to resolve it. Let’s analyze these strategies individually, step by step.
Strategy 1: Listening
Listening is both a physical and mental process. Our little ones need to accept the process of listening and analyzing the other person’s opinion. Motivate your kids to be active listeners, not passive ones.
Actively listening allows your children to understand their communication partner’s opinions, control their feelings, accept others’ feelings, and resolve the conflict calmly, with no tension and aggression. No matter what the reason for the conflict is, children should first be calm and hear out the other side.
Your child must also be ready to follow others’ body language. Most people show their true emotions with actions, not words. And probably the most important thing is for your child to stay calm, and give polite feedback on the matter.
Last but not least, teach your children to use “I” messages. But what is that? That’s a type of communication where your children state their feelings. For example: “I feel angry because you betrayed me!”
It is important to use this type of communication because it’s the best way to objectively find an answer to the conflict. There are many situations where your children can find themselves in a conflict with others.
For example, little children often don’t want to share their toys and have an interest in the same toy. So, there is a conflict. But how can I tell my child to give up their most priced possession? The best way you can do that is by engaging both children to listen to each other and share toys, and not only one child.
It is really tough, but making sharing and other positive activities a habit is a must in today’s modern world.
Strategy 2: Expressing Feelings
Studies show that most decisions are done using emotions. It’s only logical that when children argue their feelings get hurt.
So, a decent conflict resolution strategy is teaching your children to express their feelings when in a conflict.
As we mentioned before, your children can use “I” statements to state feelings. To prepare your child for these situations, you can act out different situations at home. Encourage your kiddo to tell whenever they feel hurt or stressed about something.
For example, kids often fight about which sports club or celebrity is the best. Although these are very stupid things to fuss about, our children often grow these small arguments into fights and heated conflicts.
So, if children feel hurt or offended, they should address their true feelings and make others understand what they feel.
Strategy 3: Apologizing
Even our children sometimes make mistakes. So, you should implement the idea of apologizing in your children when they’re young.
But saying sorry often isn’t enough. Make your children understand they’re wrong, and should express remorse about their mistakes. That’s a really tough thing to do, but if parenting was easy it wouldn’t be fun.
A big part of maturing and growing up for children is developing a habit to take responsibility when they’re in the wrong.
For example, if your child breaks a glass vase, he/she shouldn’t try to hide it. The mature and right thing to do is to take responsibility, show remorse, and sincerely apologize.
This is one of the best conflict resolution strategies because the other side often accepts the apology.
Strategy 4: Compromising
Compromising isn’t a thing only politicians do (or don’t). Children should also find the middle ground in a conflict. This is an ideal conflict resolution strategy for arguments where both sides are somehow right.
You can teach your children about compromising when they’re young. The key to making a good compromise is walking in the other person’s shoes. By analyzing what the other side feels, your child can make an objective decision.
But also don’t forget to teach your child to stand their ground. Accepting compromise when the other side is completely wrong isn’t the way to go.
For example, children often argue about what game they should play. A fitting compromise would be to play everyone’s favorite game, one by one.
Strategy 5: Walking Away
So, your child tries listening, expressing feelings, apologizing, and compromising but the other side seems to get more and more heated.
If your child sees that the other conflict resolution strategies don’t work, it is totally OK to walk away.
That won’t make them cowards or scared cats. Instead, that is a mature move. You should tell your child this because most children fight because they don’t want to end up being the laughing stock because they’d walk away.
For example, your child can argue with a friend about which sports club is the best. This can lead to a fight if your child doesn’t walk away when the other side gets aggressive.
Conflicts are everywhere. Luckily the 5 conflict resolution strategies help our children dodge any uncomfortable situations.
But we, parents, are the ones that must teach our children about these strategies. After all, children’s safety is what we battle for the most.
What are the signs that my child is experiencing conflict?
The most common signs are children avoid eating, sleeping, and studying, and they often feel angry, nervous, depressed, scared, anxious, etc.
How can I help my child develop conflict-resolution skills?
You should act out practical examples of how your kid should react in a conflict situation and implement the 5 conflict resolution strategies (listening, expressing feelings, apologizing, compromising, and walking away).
What are some consequences of unresolved conflicts among children?
Unresolved conflict can cause children to demonstrate aggressive behavior with others, isolate themselves, and feel angry most of the time.
How can I encourage my child to apologize after a conflict?
You can review the conflict together with your children, make them admit their mistake, and encourage apologizing as a way to show respect to another person, and ultimately resolve the conflict.