If we are to pass on values of compassion and understanding to our children, it’s going to take some real conversations about conflict.
In order to know how to handle conflict in a productive and healthy manner, children must see conflict resolution modeled in the same way. As A Fine Parent maintains, fighting and screaming can lead to pain, but adults who bottle their emotions rather than disagree deny children children the opportunity of learning how to deal with conflicts at all.
What if we taught our kids conflict resolution as opposed to physical combat, and imparted them with tools to navigate grief and anger through positive outlets?
To truly learn about conflict resolution, students must also analyze the conflict. They’ll need to be able to identify the problem and try to understand what’s causing it. As Proud to be Primary reports, teachers can help by teaching:
- Understanding – Students need to understand what conflict is and its negative impact on others.
- Empathy: Empathizing with the other person’s feelings helps students see the effects of their conflict.
- Responsibility: Students involved must learn how to take responsibility for their own part in the conflict, no matter who started it.
- Communication: It is important to use words to resolve the conflict so the students can come to a mutually beneficial solution.
- Choice: Not every situation is black and white. Children need to see more than one strategy to solve a conflict independently.
In order to minimize conflict, James Stanfield Co Inc. suggests teachers can offer:
- Prevention: Helping kids avoid conflict is much easier than solving it. To prevent conflict, teachers must be proactive in teaching the skills kids need to solve their ongoing issues.
- Literature: Children’s literature can be used to provide examples of times when empathy, perspective taking, and patience are needed. Discussing how these stories relate to real-life conflict provides a strong foundation for kids.
- Praise: Praising students for doing something right usually gets more kids on task than punishing a student who is off task. The same is true of conflict, where skills like sharing and patience are important.
As Empowering Parents reports, The first place our children experience conflict is at home. The conflict resolution models parents show their children will be what they will use at school, with peers and throughout their lives.
A great deal of education funding has been cut in the US. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, it is imperative that children are taught how to constructively manage difficult situations with their peers.
“Implementing conflict resolution and grief management programs would help kids learn how to have conversations about their feelings without resorting to violence and verbal abuse,” the CBPP reports.
Click below and sign the petition asking the Secretary of the Department of Education to support this cause by requiring public schools to implement conflict resolution and grief management programs for children.