While you can expect conflicts at work, it’s the conflicts at home that can be especially maddening, more so when they involve kids. Children quite simply don’t understand the finer points of a situation, meaning they frequently take a very simplistic view of things – and react very emotionally when things don’t go their way.
Add their peers into the mix, and you have a disaster waiting to happen.
We also now have the internet to throw into this mix as well. Our kids, especially our preteens and teens, keep their phones in their hands and are comparing themselves to the highlights that they see of someone’s life. We also have to take in account that young people will use social media to embarrass others or express what they are feeling. This causes anxiety, self esteem issues, and if we do not pay attention they will close off from the world.
As a caregiver we pay special attention to our patients and clients that we take care of. At times we can become so engrossed with work and are tired that we can miss the signs for our children.
Helping your children to learn how to resolve their conflicts with others is an important step in helping them on the path to adulthood. Below, find a list of things you might not have thought of when it comes to guiding your children in conflict resolution with others.
1. Teach your children how to be calm. As mentioned before, it’s very easy for a child to react emotionally. After all, they’ve done it since they were babies, teaching them how to control strong emotions is a skill they’ll need for their entire life. Teach them self-soothing strategies such as counting to 10, taking several deep breaths before responding, or simple meditation techniques.
2. Give your children the language to express themselves, and then teach them when not to use it. Tell your child it’s good to explain how something made them feel, but not to blame other people when doing so. Then show them that after speaking comes listening to what the other person has to say.
3. Show your child how to brainstorm solutions. Even young children can quickly learn this skill, as children are especially creative naturally.
4. Role-play situations. If a child has had a repeating conflict with peers, then help them practice how to react to those conflicts. That will help them to be better prepared when the situation rises again.
5. Teach children fairness. Rather than constantly nagging at your child to take turns or to share, help them to learn a mindset of thinking about others through your actions. Sure, you can reward the behavior you want to see, but it’s through learning empathy that these lessons stick. It will help them through conflict resolution when they can look at a situation and ask the question for themselves, “Was this fair?”
Helping your child in conflict resolution is something you as a parent should take very seriously. Of all the life skills you teach your child, this is one of the most important. But remember, that while using these steps to guide them might be a good jumping off point, you know your child better than anyone. Use what’s logical to you that will teach them best. And then allow them the freedom to practice those skills as they go out into the world.