It’s not always rainbows and sunshine for children. They face conflicts in their lives, maybe an older kid at school bullies them, a best friend suddenly doesn't want to be best friends anymore, or the "in" group at school won't let him or her sit with them in the cafeteria.
According to an expert on family and relationships, Ms. Maribel Dionisio, conflict is a natural phenomenon in life because people are different, and they have various expectations. While many people think of the unfortunate results gained from conflicts, some are necessary. It depends on how a particular conflict is handled. These are important reminders for parents to impart to their children.
Kids learn how to manage conflict in the same way they learn to do many other things—by watching what goes on around them. They learn by observing adults, other children, and even from what they see on television, movies, and other media.
How do you teach your kids to manage and resolve conflicts? Start by setting an example on how you resolve your conflicts with them. Here are a few tips from Ms. Dionisio:
- Listen to their concern or request
- Empathize by paraphrasing their request or concern
- Identify how they’re feeling – are they mad, sad, or afraid?
- Use “I statements” (“I feel angry because…” instead of “You make me angry because…”) to speak.
- Do not ridicule, condemn or judge
- Offer 2 to 3 solutions that are acceptable to you to resolve the conflict
- Allow them to choose the resolution
- After some time, evaluate if house rules need to be revised or renegotiated to avoid and/or reduce conflicts
- Set an example of how you manage conflict with other adults, especially your spouse
Children feel more at ease when their conflicts are managed better. The whole family can also benefit from this with the overall feeling of peace inside the home when everyone knows how to manage and resolve conflicts with each other.
Ms. Maribel Dionisio - Family & Parenting Specialist