Good morning! Good afternoon! Good evening! or maybe even good night! Whatever time it is where you are, it’s great to have you here 🙂
Today’s post will be quick but ever so important. We ALL deal with conflict. We may run the other way, thrive on it, deal with it only when absolutely necessary, or maybe there’s a few of us who see it as a valuable part of life. Conflict, although difficult, can be an opportunity for learning. We may learn something about the other person, we may “mend fences” and end up with a stronger relationship, we may learn a better way of doing things, we may see one of our own weaknesses (yikes!), or a thousand different things. Sometimes we do need to walk away from conflict, but we probably walk (or run) way more often than we should. Relationships are valuable. Don’t let unresolved conflict ruin them.
When our kids (children or students) are involved in conflict, the easy path is to break it up and punish them. But, that only means we will have to break it up again and again and again. How do we help our kids learn to deal with conflict?
It’s important to talk about conflict outside of those times when conflict occurs. Talk to your kids about what types of conflicts they experience or see other kids experiencing. Talk about possible options for resolving those situations. Role-play and act out alternatives.
Even when we talk with kids about conflict, when they are in the heat of the moment, they may have difficulty remembering what they have learned. Here are three simple steps you can use to help them work through the conflict and to learn from it.
1. Help the kids involved to “understand each other’s point of view (‘How does so-and-so feel when you do that?’).”
2. Help the kids involved “work out a fair solution, one that takes into account both points of view and satisfies the legitimate claims of each party (‘What’s a way of solving the problem that’s fair to both of you?’).”
3. Help the kids involved “practice the behavioral skills that will help them solve problems without the intervention of an adult (‘Can you show me how you could have solved this problem without fighting?’).”
Quotes are from: Lickona, T. (1991). Educating for character, how our schools can teach respect and responsibility. p.294-5. New York, NY: Bantam Dell Pub Group.