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Teaching Kids Conflict Resolution Skills

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Conflict resolution is a life skill. Follow these steps to teach your kids conflict-resolution skills.

Teaching Kids Conflict Resolution Skills

Can Conflict Resolution Be Taught?

Wherever there are people, there is conflict. Conflict is unavoidable.

In many ways, that is a good thing. People have conflict when they have a difference of opinion, and we can learn from others this way.

Conflict resolution also gives us a chance to practice empathy, patience, and self-control.

We learn to express ourselves, to listen to others, and to establish healthy boundaries.

Although a person can learn conflict resolution skills through trial and error, you can expedite the learning process by teaching conflict resolution skills.

Teaching Kids Conflict Resolution Skills

What Is Conflict Resolution?

Conflict resolution is a multi-step process.

Step 1: Identify the Problem

This is an all-important first step.

It’s surprising how many times people are on different pages. Many conflicts can be resolved just by clarifying the issue at hand.

Step 2: State Your Side

Each person gets a chance to state their side (without interruption from the other person).

Step 3: Problem Solve

Each person should brainstorm various ways to solve the problem.

Teaching Kids Conflict Resolution Skills

Step 4: Evaluate Solutions

Decide on a solution from those presented. Both sides should agree

Step 5: Check Back In

After some time has passed, check back in to ensure the solution is working for both people.

How to Teach Conflict Resolution

Teaching conflict resolution goes beyond naming the steps.

Teaching Kids Conflict Resolution Skills

Model Positive Behavior

Put into practice the skills you want your kids to have.

Model communication, self-control, patience, and forgiveness.

Use kind words and talk about conflict resolution in a positive way.

Teach About Emotions

Kids can feel angry, upset, and despondent, and this is compounded when they can’t identify how they are feeling.

Starting at a young age, teach kids about emotions. These resources may help:

Teach Communication Skills

Once a child understands what he is feeling, he can communicate that.

Encourage him to use “I” statements. (“I feel upset when…” or “When you call me that name, I feel…”)

You will also need to coach kids on active listening.

When you listen actively, you listen to the other person without interrupting them, and then you summarize what you think they said.

This makes sure both sides are being heard and understood.

Teaching Kids Conflict Resolution Skills

Role Playing

You can practice active listening, “I” statements, and the conflict resolution steps through role-playing.

This gives kids practice in conflict resolution before their emotions are added to the mix.

Teach Empathy

You can also teach empathy to kids. This helps them appreciate them the perspective of others.

Read more about teaching empathy to kids here.

Use an Anchor Chart

Don’t expect kids to remember the conflict resolution skills in the heat of the moment.

Display an anchor chart to jog their memories. Consider adding it to your classroom focus wall or homeschool bulletin board.

Praise the Effort

Conflict resolution takes work and practice.

Acknowledge the effort and praise kids for their willingness to resolve a conflict peacefully, even if it doesn’t work out perfectly.

Teaching Kids Conflict Resolution Skills

How to Teach Conflict Resolution Skills to Kids

Set the stage for short term and longer term life success by teaching your kids conflict resolution skills.

From the homeschool to the classroom to family life and friendships, teaching conflict resolution has lasting and positive impact.

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