How to Resolve Conflict Among Children

Adults do not have the monopoly on violence. Violence stems from conflict, and conflict is also commonplace among kids. For kids, there is one established way to settle a dispute, and that is fighting. Conflict resolution is vital if we want abolish violence and hate and see our children bond well with their peers.

A constructive conflict resolution process enables a child to understand another child’s viewpoint and strengthens the relationship between them. Delay in resolving conflicts among children is the water that germinates the seed of hate, which could mature to adulthood.

As much as we try to avoid it, conflict is a normal part of human relationship. When we help kids learn to deal with conflict and resolve it effectively, we create better friendships for them, insideand outside of school. Different factors determine how a child will decide to resolve conflict. The ways children react to conflict are dependent on their level of maturity, exposure, and life experiences. For instance, a kid may not know how to say sorry and still feel secure; the childmay see themself as inferior in such cases. 

Conflicts among children can result from ordinary experiences, like scrambling for a covetedseat in class or pushing a little too hard during a sport activity or game. Conflicts can even arise when the bullied child finally gets fed up. It is our duty as parents, teachers, guardians, and adults to teach these young ones the art of conflict resolution for their overall betterment.

Resolving Conflicts for Kids: What You Can Do• Do not be judgmental: Resolving conflicts requires us to lay aside judgments. Trust me, lying is not only for adults, like Sarah in the Bible; kids are also experts at leaving out some truths. So, when engaging in conflict resolution with kids, don’t jump to conclusions regarding who is right or wrong. Stay neutral and thoroughly examine the root of the conflict. More so, encourage each of the parties to acknowledge the validity of the other’s point of view.

• Acknowledge that there is an issue: When a kid takes another kid’s seat, for them it is not a trivial issue. It is World War III. As the conflict resolution mediator, you mustn’t trivialize the problem. What is minor to you may be significant for them. Tell the children involved that you understand their concerns. Perhaps, you could share with them similar issues you had when you were a kid or make up a good story to relax them. 

• Pay attention to the problem at hand, not the kid in question: To resolve conflicts among children, seek a way to fix the problem in the interests of those involved in the conflict. Refrain from using harsh language or engaging in any form of personal attack, especially when it could be perceived as prejudice based on color or religion. The child might not be able to process any racist action as a kid. However, when they are grown, they may remember and bebiased against those on the other side. Always stick to the issue and do not act with bias, ever!

• Be patient to hear what the kids say about the cause of their conflict: The process of resolving conflict requires patience. Kids in conflict need the space to tell their stories for a seamless and robust conflict resolution procedure. Patiently hear them out. If you make a hasty decision, the children will think they haven’t been heard. This will not make the situation better. But we can all feel good when someone listens.

• This one is a NO-NO! Never push, hit, kick, or emotionally violate (with words) a kid who hurt another kid. Avoid making mean, nasty remarks that will hurt feelings. Make no personal remarks about a kid’s looks, gender, “secrets,” or things that have happened to them in the past.

Four Conflict Resolution Methods for Kids

There are simple techniques we can use to assist children in resolving conflict and being good friends. The method requires practice by the kids who are learning it and patience from the adult who is teaching it.

• Teach kids that conflicts are okay and that, no matter the cause, they can be resolved peaceably.

• Teach kids problem-solving strategies, such as letting go of whatever caused the conflict. For example, suggest they find another toy to play with if a toy was the issue.

• Teach kids to seek the help of an adult when conflict arises, rather than use hurtful words or disrespectful behavior. 

• Teach kids fairness. Talk to them about being kind, hearty, and generous. Encourage them regularly to be helpful, because if you’re kind to others, people will like you. This will make them proactively considerate, thus decreasing the chances of experiencing conflict.

Do you have a particular way of resolving conflicts among children? Let us learn together. Kindly share it in the comment box below.

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