There are plenty of things you as a parent are responsible for teaching your child. You teach your child to talk, walk and make friends. While no parent wants their child to encounter conflict, it’s even more important to teach them how to handle it well.
There’s no reason you should navigate teaching your child conflict resolution skills blind. Use this article as a guide to teach your child how to solve problems— first together, then on his or her own.
Here are the top tips for teaching your child conflict resolution that you can implement today.
1. Lay the foundation
The first stage in helping your kid to solve a disagreement is to explain why it’s important. A child who doesn’t understand the purpose of respect or doesn’t accept that others have inherent dignity will face a roadblock in understanding how and why to handle conflicts.
Establish a firm foundation by teaching your child these principles. When your child is able to see that others have value and friendships are worth working for, it will be easier to have empathy and patience when working towards a resolution.
2. Teach active listening
Activating listening is the art of listening to understand, rather than just listening to respond. When you are actively listening you are focused on the speaker. This means eliminating distractions, both mental and physical ones. What does this look like? No phones or tvs nearby when you’re working on a solution, and setting aside thoughts about what’s for dinner.
Try this exercise in active listening. With your child, talk about any topic. After a few minutes ask your child to summarize what you said. They should be able to repeat some key points in their own words. Remind your child that active listening also entails asking questions.
3. Build self-awareness
Self-awareness is a mature skill that even the most intelligent adults struggle with. While no one has perfect self-awareness, fostering growth in this area is one of the best tips for child conflict resolution.
A person who has healthy self-awareness will be able to interpret how their own actions affect those around them. While it might be easier to deny when we’ve made someone uncomfortable or angry, it can help in conflict resolution and also prevent future issues.
Work on building self-awareness by talking about emotional cues from others and being open about mistakes. Discuss some cues that others are feeling negatively about your actions (like not wanting to play with you anymore or not texting you back). Then role play some examples of how you can come to a solution or apologize.
4. Enforce communication
Communication skills are one of the most valuable gifts you can give your child. Healthy communication will help in personal and professional areas for the rest of your kid’s life, and will be a game changer when conflicts inevitably arise.
Verbalizing emotions and compromises is critical to teaching your child conflict resolution. This will enable your children to admit mistakes and find reconciliation, as well as advocate for themselves when they have been wronged.
The most effective way to teach communication is to model it. Resolve conflicts within your family in front of your children (within reason). Talk with your family member about it first, then have a discussion about vacation plans in front of your children where each of you communicates, empathizes and compromises.
5. Compromise and collaborate
The meat of the conflict resolution is learning to compromise and collaborate. Even if your child is the most self-aware and communicative person, there is no guarantee other kids their age will be. Therefore, it’s important to teach your child what to do when faced with a seemingly hopeless situation.
While not every situation does and should require giving in, there are surely times when it’s not essential that your child gets his or her way. Again, modeling this behavior is the best way to teach it. Find some moments throughout your week when you can demonstrate acceptance when things don’t go your way.
Embrace collaboration, too, as a way to teach child conflict resolution. Whenever possible, find ways to work together with someone to solve a problem, instead of working against each other. When you reframe a conflict into a chance for teamwork, it’s more likely the issue will be resolved and your kids will have fun in the process.
Start helping your child with conflict resolution today
Teaching your children how to solve conflicts takes time, but it’s a skill that will pay off for the rest of their lives. You can start making that investment today by modeling and practicing respect, listening, self-awareness and communication
While there are many things as a parent only you can do, teaching conflict resolution takes a team. Family members, school teachers and others can help. Add professional support to your team with Pyramid Online Counseling.
Both you and your child can learn to understand and communicate emotions, with support and coaching from a trained therapist. Take advantage of the help you deserve so you can solve problems and find peace of mind. Call 833-525-3077 to schedule an appointment.