No one likes to deal with conflict. It’s an uncomfortable situation for anyone to handle. So what is the best way to teach our kids how to handle it? The first step is to have your child figure out if they have a small problem or big problem. If they have a big problem (anything that makes the child feel threatened or scared), or have tried resolving a small problem on their own and it hasn’t worked, they should tell a trusted adult.
If they have a small problem, they should try to handle the situation themselves by trying two of the following options before they approach an adult. The choices include:
- Taking time out to cool off
- Joining another game
- Sharing and taking turns
- Talking it out with the other person
- Walking away
- Ignoring it
- Telling the other person to stop
- Making a deal or negotiating
When the child does go to an adult, they need to learn to tell the adult how they tried to resolve the problem on their own. For example: “Ms. Jones, Sue is teasing me about my outfit. I tried walking away, and I tried telling her to stop but she won’t.” This way the adult knows that they have tried to resolve the problem on their own, but still need their help. This is a great way to help your kids to develop good problem-solving and conflict resolution skills.