Managing conflicts is part of being around kids. Whether you are dealing with kids on the playground, a play date, sibling interactions, or some other convergence of small bodies, conflicts and squabbles are sure to arise.
It is a great idea to plan for conflicts before they occur. The best discipline comes in the form of consistent, logical consequences— but these can be extremely difficult to come up with on the fly. Thinking ahead to the types of situations that are likely to arise (teasing, name calling, etc) will enable you to plan good consequences ahead of time.
When kids are in conflict, you have several roles, and you must address them separately:
There is huge value in managing conflicts thoroughly and consistently—not the least of which is that kids will learn healthy conflict management skills and begin to use them on their own.
Let's say a group of kids comes to you with a story of something that happened on the playground. One is crying. One is angry. One seems scared. All are looking to you to fix it.
I am hearing that there was a disagreement, Jim called Sophie names, and Sophie pushed Jim. Does that sound right?Focus on the bits that are most important; these are the parts of the story that kids will usually agree on.
sincereis often lacking when we tell a kid to
say sorry. Instead, have young children or nonreaders draw a picture to show they are sorry. You can also teach kids how to say a
I'm sorry I —————.
How did that make you feel?
What can I do to make it better?
Will you forgive me?>
Managing conflict between kids doesn't have to be so stressful. A predictable and helpful plan gives you confidence, sets kids at ease, and resolves differences with a minimum of heartache. Oh, and the best part? You are teaching your kids some great conflict management skills!
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