Conflict resolution: Are your kids ready to handle it?

Conflict ResolutionThere are a few ways a child can approach different situations specially when conflict arises, and children sometimes fail to resolve these conflicts because their particular style of conflict resolution is not adequate enough to effectively handle such situation. Parents can still do something about this, all they need to do is identify which conflict resolving strategies their children use and teach them a better one.

The three most common styles of conflict resolution strategies that children use are:

The Passive Approach

Conflict resolutionThese teens are likely to have trouble communicating and advocating for their needs. They may be afraid to stand up for themselves, either because their self-worth is low or because they lack good communication skills. As a result, other kids realize early on that these kids can be pushed around with little repercussion. These students may be more likely to have problems making friends or to be bullied. The relationships that they do have are often unfulfilling because they allow their “friends” to treat them badly, yet they don’t know how to change this dynamic.

The Aggressive Approach

Students who use this style are often confrontational and intimidating in their personal interactions. They can use threatening verbal or body language and often don’t seem to care about the other person’s needs. Their sole goal is to get what they want. Cooperation may be difficult for them, and their approach to other people may be abrasive. They may resort to name-calling or threats to get their way. These kids are more likely to be the bulliers, causing other students to fear or avoid them. If they use this same approach with authority figures, they may wind up with discipline and other problems.

The Assertive Approach

These kids know how to get their needs met while respecting the needs of others. They know how to cooperate and compromise, and their goal is to achieve a win-win outcome. Their verbal approach is respectful and solution-oriented. These kids have learned effective communication and problem-solving skills. They listen to others, but are able to make their own needs and ideas known in an assertive manner. This is the ideal approach to use in most situations so that everyone comes out a winner.

After determining which conflict resolution approach the child uses, parents can;

  • Model assertive problem-solving. Make sure kids see you handling conflicts respectfully yet assertively. You can even verbalize the steps as you go to enhance learning. For example, you might make a comment such as, “I want to make sure he hears what I am saying, but I don’t want to come on too strong.”
  • Role play how to handle conflicts. Kids need guided practice in developing respectful yet productive responses to conflict situations. They also often have a hard time recognizing and interpreting the subtleties of feelings and intent in spoken language. Help them process these, as well.
  • Work on communication skills. When a teen verbalizes how they feel during a conflict, not only does it help the other person understand their point of view, it helps the teen clarify their own feelings, as well. Help teens learn to use “I messages,” reflect the other person’s perspective back to them, and use good listening skills.

These tips on how help a child’s conflict resolution skills are merely a sample, there are other techniques out there that parents have used and has proven to be effective. If you have a technique that you would want to share with other parents, do not hesitate to leave post on the comment box.

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