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What Are the Different Methods of Conflict Resolution for Kids?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

The different methods of conflict resolution for kids include learning to control impulses, thinking about the other person and generating possible solutions to a problem before making a decision how to handle it. These different methods can be strong when used together, as they can work as a conflict resolution system for children. It's important to teach kids each method in an age appropriate way that is easy for them to remember and use.

Children as young as three can be taught to identify their feelings, which is often mentioned as the first step in being able to solve a conflict situation. Being able to make an "I statement" in how they feel can help children communicate their feelings to others rather than just react to their feelings such as by shouting or hitting. It can also help them better understand that just as they experience different feelings, others do as well. Communication is considered an important method of conflict resolution for kids, as an exchange of feelings followed by possible solutions or ideas can help solve problems.

Young boy eating an apple
Young boy eating an apple

For example one child may say "I feel angry that you took the crayons" to a kid who has suddenly snatched the container away to look through them himself. This will likely prompt the second child to respond with an explanation such as "I need to see what colors I want." If after looking through the box, he then places the crayons back so the first child can access them, the conflict is solved. Through verbal communication as well as cooperation skills, conflict resolution for kids has the added bonuses of improving social development as well as helping children consider the feelings of others.

Children who try to determine what others may be feeling may learn to be more empathetic, which can aid in impulse control and decision making skills. In addition to making "I statements" about their own feelings, conflict resolution for kids may involve children asking "you questions" of others. Using the example above, a child with conflict resolution skills may ask the other person "Do you need the crayons right now? I want to look through them." Since the second child considers the possible feelings of the first child before making a decision to do something, a strong conflict is likely to be avoided.

After considering feelings from both a self and other person perspective, the third main type of conflict resolution for kids is thinking of different possible solutions to the problem when situations are more difficult. Older children are often able to think of more than one way to settle a conflict so that both parties can be satisfied with the outcome. Waiting for one's turn or sharing are problem solving tactics that school age and older children usually grasp as well as put into practice quite well.

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      Young boy eating an apple