Dealing with conflict is part of life but, because it’s fraught with emotion, is not something we always handle well. Children especially can have trouble dealing with conflict between peers or siblings, resulting in meltdowns which are difficult to deal with.
You can help your child better deal with these situations by arming them with some simple strategies they can use when conflict arises.
Take A Deep Breath
It’s something we’re told as adults to do before making hasty decisions or before disciplining our own children, but it’s an important tool for children during times of stress too. It takes a lot of practice to master but you help your child by reminding them to stop and take a deep breath during moments of conflict. This helps to diffuse the situation a little before things get out of hand and allows your child a moment to think about what they are going to do next.
Use a gentle and kind approach to conflict resolution and encourage your child to do the same as this is more likely to have positive outcomes for everyone involved. Understanding that everyone is different and has their own feelings and opinions teaches empathy and also skills for dealing with issues that may arise. Understanding what compromise is might be a bit of a stretch but even young children can understand the concept of being kind to others if you show them how.
Focus on Problem Solving
Rather than having things escalate into an argument, have your child focus on solving the problem. Children often don’t see all the options or alternatives when faced with a problem, but you can help them learn how to look for solutions to issues. Problem solving often requires teamwork, conversation and cooperation – all great skills to foster.
Find an Adult
Teach your child to find an adult to help solve issues once they have tried to do so themselves. Sometimes children just can’t work out issues on their own and asking for help should always be encouraged. Take the opportunity to problem solve together, talk through strategies and model ways to solve conflict peacefully and calmly.
Helping your child to learn strategies to deal with conflict is a great way to set them up for life and make them strong and independent. Model strategies and be available to help out during moments of conflict without taking over and you’ll pass on some skills which will be valuable throughout your child’s life.