Teaching Children Conflict Management Skills
Posted on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022 at 3:53 pm
Conflict is a part of everyday life. Therefore, it is imperative to teach young children how to manage conflict on their own. According to Connections Academy, there are five steps for children to practice in order to learn conflict resolution skills.
The first step is to STOP. Stopping means taking a step back, taking a deep breath, and ensuring that the situation being faced is not getting out of control. This allows the child to calm down and gather his or her thoughts and emotions before acting. Emotions such as anger and frustration can make conflicts much harder to solve because judgment can become clouded. Stopping to address the situation with a clear mind will ensure a much better chance of resolving the conflict at hand.
The second step in conflict resolution is to SAY what the conflict is about. Having an open conversation that entails full and clear understanding of what the disagreement involves will help to diffuse the situation. Children must learn to communicate their feelings and to feel comfortable making their wants and needs clear in a conflict situation.
The third step is to THINK of positive options. Things such as talking out the situation, walking away, apologizing, listening to the opposing side, etc. are great examples. These are ways to ensure that there’s a fair solution that meets the needs of all parties involved in the conflict. The fourth step coincides with the third step, and it is to CHOOSE a positive option that all parties can agree on. Again, this ensures that all parties are being treated fairly and have a fair chance to handle the situation.
Lastly, the fifth step is RESPECT. Respect is a very important trait that all children should learn because it ensures not only that others will respect them in return, but that they will value the opinions and actions of others, even if they do not agree with them. Having respect for someone in a conflict means coming to a common solution and choosing to hear the opposing side’s thoughts and feelings about the situation.
Children should learn to remain patient and sincere when dealing with a situation that causes conflict in their life. There are a handful of things we should deter children from doing when faced with such a situation and those include: name calling, using physical violence, interrupting the other person, refusing to listen to the opposing side’s views, and insulting the other person’s intelligence due to disagreement. Allowing a child to learn and exercise these types of behaviors could result in a child becoming a verbal or physical bully who refuses to handle conflict appropriately.
Conflict in a child’s life is inevitable and can be a good thing. Conflict resolution skills are important techniques that can become crucial learning experiences for the child. These experiences allow them to learn how to cooperate, compromise, and understand others who do not see eye to eye with them. The way a child responds to conflict at an early age could affect the remainder of their life. Using the five steps mentioned above allows a child to explore their own feelings, learn more about themselves, inquire knowledge from opposing views, and develop constructive relationships that teach them larger life values.
Some of the most important skills in life that one can possess are good communication skills and having the ability to listen to others. That is why teaching children conflict management skills is one of the most beneficial lessons that they can learn in their early stages of life.