There is no such thing as a perfect relationship. Whether it is your relationship with your family, spouse, or friends, things can get a little messy sometimes. This is why it is crucial that we know how to better resolve conflicts. The ability to resolve conflicts is something that children should learn even at a young age. It is part of essential social skills for healthy relationships.
How to teach conflict resolution to kids?
Here are the steps to teach conflict resolution to kids.
Allow them time to cool off
Effective conflict resolution sometimes requires that you give the children involved the chance to take a breather. This step should not be rushed. Avoid rushing the kids to engage in a problem-solving conversation before they are ready. Instead, give them ample time to calm down. Determine strategies that will work for them. Will a brief walk around the block help? Or perhaps counting from 10 to 100? Regardless of the method, the important thing is that kids should no longer be emotional when you attempt to solve the problem.
Take time to listen
Once the kids have cooled off, it is time to ask them about what happened. You can either do it together or separately. Emphasize the importance of honesty as they relay what happened. Encourage them to state the problem and honestly admit their role in the conflict. Also, encourage them to share how they feel. Assure them that you listening and are trying to understand the situation without prejudice.
Now that the children have shared their emotions about the conflict, they need to learn how to take responsibility for their actions. Help them understand that each of them, whether it’s equal or not, played a role in the problem. This will help them realize that every action has a consequence; that everything we do affects not just us but also the people around us.
Given all the information from the kids involved and the responsibility each one took, it’s time to promote solution finding. The goal is to find a solution that will benefit everyone. While it’s tempting to lay down the solution that you think is best, it is better to gather suggestions from the children. At this point, they are already aware of the problem and how each of them contributed to the conflict. Give them the opportunity to think of ways to patch things up. Make sure their suggestions benefit both parties.
An apology is more than just saying “sorry”. When you encourage the children to apologize, make them understand that an apology communicates responsibility, regret and solution. Have them come up with their own apology. They can deliver it however they want. They can say it in person or write it in a letter. Make sure they use the words “I’m sorry” and state the reason why they are sorry and what they will do to fix the situation.
Find out if the solution is working by doing a follow up. Take time to check on how the kids are getting along. However, you must also be aware that not all conflicts are resolved immediately. There are times when the kids involved need a prolonged break from one another and would prefer to hang out with other kids. In cases like this, it is best to give them time to heal and forgive. The important thing is that they are still able to speak to each other with kindness and respect.
Knowing how to resolve conflicts is an essential part of developing a child’s social skills. It also teaches them communication, empathy and problem solving skills. These are also some of the things that your child can learn from a curriculum that focuses on holistic development and character education, like the one offered in Young Scholars Academy. Please visit our website for more information.