Teaching Your Child Fundamental Conflict Resolution Skills

Reviewed Mar 21, 2017

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Summary

  • Set a good example in your own household.
  • Encourage talking and listening.
  • Remind him to think before acting .

Nowadays, it is not uncommon to hear about conflicts turning violent. Such incidents remind parents the importance of teaching children appropriate ways to resolve conflict. Conflict resolution skills can help your child manage emotions, control impulses, get along better with peers, make wise decisions, and solve everyday problems.

Conflict resolution 101

Children must master certain essential skills to resolve conflict successfully. In an age-appropriate manner, work on each step of the conflict resolution process:

  1. Controlling emotions
  2. Understanding another’s feelings and point of view
  3. Identifying underlying reasons that motivate someone to think or act in a certain way
  4. Communicating and active listening
  5. Generating alternative solutions
  6. Considering consequences
  7. Developing a plan of action

Preschoolers

Your child’s capacity to learn and practice these skills improves with age. But you can begin to expose your child to these concepts during the toddler years. Help your child develop a positive attitude toward conflict resolution by setting a good example in your own household. Use play, books, music, and real-life observation to point out positive and negative ways of dealing with strong emotions and conflict.

Preschoolers need help labeling feelings. Reassure your child that having such emotions is OK, but that expressing feelings in certain ways is not allowed. For example, “It’s OK to be mad, but don’t hit” or “Don’t yell when you’re angry.” Provide appropriate suggestions and examples of other ways of displaying the emotion. It is just as important to praise your child for dealing with his emotions appropriately.

When conflict arises, help your child identify the person she is troubled by and the problem. Encourage talking and listening. Show preschoolers how they too contribute to the problem. Practice listening skills by asking her to rephrase the problem in her own words.

Elementary age

Improved logical thinking and the ability to see cause-and-effect relationships help this age group better understand each skill, but you need to help your child integrate the individual skills into a process. Continue to encourage emotional awareness within your child and help him to value other people’s feelings.

Help your child recognize the signs that he is letting his emotions get the best of him and remind him to think before acting. Work on active listening: Pay attention to him when he is speaking and do not interrupt. Insist he show you the same courtesy. Explain how seeking allies to “gang up” on someone does not help to resolve conflict.

Build your child’s confidence by letting her know that you think she is ready to initiate conflict resolution on her own. This may take a little encouragement, such as “We seem to argue when you are hurrying to get ready for school—I wonder why?”

Preteens

Typical preteens get a lot of practice using these skills with their parents. Keeping your cool and sticking to the conflict resolution fundamentals shows your teen that you are not trying to force your will or opinion, but instead, you are genuinely interested in finding a mutually agreeable solution.

Many preteens are too embarrassed to share their feelings or feel that doing so makes them seem immature. Remind your child that solving problems requires good communication and an understanding of the other’s point of view. Asking open-ended questions is a good way to encourage your child to communicate.

Help your preteen look for underlying issues and patterns and brainstorm solutions. At this age, what your child thinks is less important than getting her to come up with as many alternative solutions as possible.

Help your child look beyond "external" consequences, such as being punished or having a privilege taken away. Help her to see how her actions affect another's feelings, as well as her own.

Your preteen also might need help developing a plan of action. Start by helping her identify a goal. Then, work with her to develop a step-by-step plan to reach this goal that considers timing issues and potential obstacles. Doing so will prepare your child to deal with more complex issues as a teenager and adult. 

By Christine P. Martin
Source: Resolving Conflict with Others and Within Yourself by Gini Graham Scott, PhD. New Harbinger Publications, 1990; Tired of Yelling: Teaching Our Children to Resolve Conflict by Lyndon D. Waugh, MD. Longstreet, 1999; Raising a Thinking Child by Myrna B. Shure, PhD. Henry Holt, 1999; Raising a Thinking Preteen by Myrna B. Shure, PhD. Henry Holt, 2000.

Summary

  • Set a good example in your own household.
  • Encourage talking and listening.
  • Remind him to think before acting .

Nowadays, it is not uncommon to hear about conflicts turning violent. Such incidents remind parents the importance of teaching children appropriate ways to resolve conflict. Conflict resolution skills can help your child manage emotions, control impulses, get along better with peers, make wise decisions, and solve everyday problems.

Conflict resolution 101

Children must master certain essential skills to resolve conflict successfully. In an age-appropriate manner, work on each step of the conflict resolution process:

  1. Controlling emotions
  2. Understanding another’s feelings and point of view
  3. Identifying underlying reasons that motivate someone to think or act in a certain way
  4. Communicating and active listening
  5. Generating alternative solutions
  6. Considering consequences
  7. Developing a plan of action

Preschoolers

Your child’s capacity to learn and practice these skills improves with age. But you can begin to expose your child to these concepts during the toddler years. Help your child develop a positive attitude toward conflict resolution by setting a good example in your own household. Use play, books, music, and real-life observation to point out positive and negative ways of dealing with strong emotions and conflict.

Preschoolers need help labeling feelings. Reassure your child that having such emotions is OK, but that expressing feelings in certain ways is not allowed. For example, “It’s OK to be mad, but don’t hit” or “Don’t yell when you’re angry.” Provide appropriate suggestions and examples of other ways of displaying the emotion. It is just as important to praise your child for dealing with his emotions appropriately.

When conflict arises, help your child identify the person she is troubled by and the problem. Encourage talking and listening. Show preschoolers how they too contribute to the problem. Practice listening skills by asking her to rephrase the problem in her own words.

Elementary age

Improved logical thinking and the ability to see cause-and-effect relationships help this age group better understand each skill, but you need to help your child integrate the individual skills into a process. Continue to encourage emotional awareness within your child and help him to value other people’s feelings.

Help your child recognize the signs that he is letting his emotions get the best of him and remind him to think before acting. Work on active listening: Pay attention to him when he is speaking and do not interrupt. Insist he show you the same courtesy. Explain how seeking allies to “gang up” on someone does not help to resolve conflict.

Build your child’s confidence by letting her know that you think she is ready to initiate conflict resolution on her own. This may take a little encouragement, such as “We seem to argue when you are hurrying to get ready for school—I wonder why?”

Preteens

Typical preteens get a lot of practice using these skills with their parents. Keeping your cool and sticking to the conflict resolution fundamentals shows your teen that you are not trying to force your will or opinion, but instead, you are genuinely interested in finding a mutually agreeable solution.

Many preteens are too embarrassed to share their feelings or feel that doing so makes them seem immature. Remind your child that solving problems requires good communication and an understanding of the other’s point of view. Asking open-ended questions is a good way to encourage your child to communicate.

Help your preteen look for underlying issues and patterns and brainstorm solutions. At this age, what your child thinks is less important than getting her to come up with as many alternative solutions as possible.

Help your child look beyond "external" consequences, such as being punished or having a privilege taken away. Help her to see how her actions affect another's feelings, as well as her own.

Your preteen also might need help developing a plan of action. Start by helping her identify a goal. Then, work with her to develop a step-by-step plan to reach this goal that considers timing issues and potential obstacles. Doing so will prepare your child to deal with more complex issues as a teenager and adult. 

By Christine P. Martin
Source: Resolving Conflict with Others and Within Yourself by Gini Graham Scott, PhD. New Harbinger Publications, 1990; Tired of Yelling: Teaching Our Children to Resolve Conflict by Lyndon D. Waugh, MD. Longstreet, 1999; Raising a Thinking Child by Myrna B. Shure, PhD. Henry Holt, 1999; Raising a Thinking Preteen by Myrna B. Shure, PhD. Henry Holt, 2000.

Summary

  • Set a good example in your own household.
  • Encourage talking and listening.
  • Remind him to think before acting .

Nowadays, it is not uncommon to hear about conflicts turning violent. Such incidents remind parents the importance of teaching children appropriate ways to resolve conflict. Conflict resolution skills can help your child manage emotions, control impulses, get along better with peers, make wise decisions, and solve everyday problems.

Conflict resolution 101

Children must master certain essential skills to resolve conflict successfully. In an age-appropriate manner, work on each step of the conflict resolution process:

  1. Controlling emotions
  2. Understanding another’s feelings and point of view
  3. Identifying underlying reasons that motivate someone to think or act in a certain way
  4. Communicating and active listening
  5. Generating alternative solutions
  6. Considering consequences
  7. Developing a plan of action

Preschoolers

Your child’s capacity to learn and practice these skills improves with age. But you can begin to expose your child to these concepts during the toddler years. Help your child develop a positive attitude toward conflict resolution by setting a good example in your own household. Use play, books, music, and real-life observation to point out positive and negative ways of dealing with strong emotions and conflict.

Preschoolers need help labeling feelings. Reassure your child that having such emotions is OK, but that expressing feelings in certain ways is not allowed. For example, “It’s OK to be mad, but don’t hit” or “Don’t yell when you’re angry.” Provide appropriate suggestions and examples of other ways of displaying the emotion. It is just as important to praise your child for dealing with his emotions appropriately.

When conflict arises, help your child identify the person she is troubled by and the problem. Encourage talking and listening. Show preschoolers how they too contribute to the problem. Practice listening skills by asking her to rephrase the problem in her own words.

Elementary age

Improved logical thinking and the ability to see cause-and-effect relationships help this age group better understand each skill, but you need to help your child integrate the individual skills into a process. Continue to encourage emotional awareness within your child and help him to value other people’s feelings.

Help your child recognize the signs that he is letting his emotions get the best of him and remind him to think before acting. Work on active listening: Pay attention to him when he is speaking and do not interrupt. Insist he show you the same courtesy. Explain how seeking allies to “gang up” on someone does not help to resolve conflict.

Build your child’s confidence by letting her know that you think she is ready to initiate conflict resolution on her own. This may take a little encouragement, such as “We seem to argue when you are hurrying to get ready for school—I wonder why?”

Preteens

Typical preteens get a lot of practice using these skills with their parents. Keeping your cool and sticking to the conflict resolution fundamentals shows your teen that you are not trying to force your will or opinion, but instead, you are genuinely interested in finding a mutually agreeable solution.

Many preteens are too embarrassed to share their feelings or feel that doing so makes them seem immature. Remind your child that solving problems requires good communication and an understanding of the other’s point of view. Asking open-ended questions is a good way to encourage your child to communicate.

Help your preteen look for underlying issues and patterns and brainstorm solutions. At this age, what your child thinks is less important than getting her to come up with as many alternative solutions as possible.

Help your child look beyond "external" consequences, such as being punished or having a privilege taken away. Help her to see how her actions affect another's feelings, as well as her own.

Your preteen also might need help developing a plan of action. Start by helping her identify a goal. Then, work with her to develop a step-by-step plan to reach this goal that considers timing issues and potential obstacles. Doing so will prepare your child to deal with more complex issues as a teenager and adult. 

By Christine P. Martin
Source: Resolving Conflict with Others and Within Yourself by Gini Graham Scott, PhD. New Harbinger Publications, 1990; Tired of Yelling: Teaching Our Children to Resolve Conflict by Lyndon D. Waugh, MD. Longstreet, 1999; Raising a Thinking Child by Myrna B. Shure, PhD. Henry Holt, 1999; Raising a Thinking Preteen by Myrna B. Shure, PhD. Henry Holt, 2000.

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as behavioral health care or management advice. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have questions related to workplace issues, please consider contacting your human resources department. ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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