Helping My Young Child with Conflict

Conflict with other kids is something that kids in school will need to learn to manage at some point in their lives. By laying the ground work for good conflict resolution skills while your kids are young, you can help them to learn the skills they will need to navigate this complex world in which we live as they grew and mature. While every situation, and kid, is different and the dynamics make a tremendous impact as well, here are a few pointers to help you get your kids started in the right direction.

Talk it out. The first course of action when there is a conflict is to talk about it. By having each child state their position on the conflict, an avenue to a compromise might present itself. If another kid is wanting something that your son has, for example, coach your son to state that the item is his but he can ask his mother where she bought it. Your son can then report that information back to the other child.

State your feelings. If hurtful words are being tossed about, teach your child how to state the effect those words have on her, without becoming emotional. If this does not work, tell your child that ignoring the words that are spoken by the other child can work wonders by not providing an emotional target for the hurtfulness.

Walk away. Sometimes a kid will still try to push your child’s buttons. This can happen even after he tries to negotiate with, and talk to, the other child. It can also happen while your child is trying to ignore what the other child is doing. If the conflict continues, it could be best to simply walk away from it. It is possible that the other child will lose interest in continuing the conflict when your child walks away.

Seek help. If your child has tried all of the above measures, but there is still a conflict with another child, it might be time for her to seek out the help of another person. This other person does not necessarily need to be an adult, however. It could be an older child who is known to both of the kids. Or it could be a peer that is also friendly with both of the kids but does not really have a vested interest in whose favor the conflict ends. Your child could also enlist the help of a guidance counselor or the teacher, if needed.