When a child has a problem, it’s common for the parent to feel protective and intervene to fix it.
Unfortunately, constantly stepping in prevents the child from learning how to solve problems independently. Helping children develop conflict resolution skills prepares them to work through the inevitable disagreements and arguments they will face with friends, siblings, and classmates.
It can be a challenge for anyone to keep calm during a conflict, but it’s especially difficult for children who often struggle to express how they feel. Experimenting with calming strategies, like deep breathing and visualization can help a child find what works best for them.
It’s also important that parents model calm responses. A parent screaming during a conflict encourages the child to do the same.
Talking Things Out
Helping kids develop language to express and distinguish between different negative emotions is another key to dealing with conflict.
Reading books or role-playing can be great strategies for identifying differences in similar feelings like frustration and anger or disappointment and embarrassment. This is an essential skill because the resolution of a conflict often depends on the underlying emotion.
Learning to Listen
It’s also essential for parents to explain to children that listening to others express their feelings is just as important as being able to talk about their own. Often, the best opportunities to practice this skill are when parents and children encounter conflicts.
For example, if a parent says, “I’m feeling very frustrated that you won’t get dressed because we will be late for school,” it emphasizes the child’s need to listen and have empathy.
The final step to resolving a conflict is coming up with a solution, but often children never reach this stage because they get derailed by their emotions. It can be helpful to discuss possible solutions for everyday situations, like getting upset when a child feels left out or doesn’t want to share.
Of course, it’s not realistic to try to prepare for every possibility, so children also need to learn the skills to come up with solutions at the moment. Parents should encourage them to engage with their peers to negotiate and compromise.
Dr. Edward S. Thalheimer is the President and Founder of The Tutoring Center® Franchise Corp. For our part, we here at The Tutoring Center® are continuing to provide one-to-one instruction combined with The Rotational Approach to Learning® to prevent children from slipping through the cracks academically. Our programs help children achieve long-term success, build concentration and focus, and, with our outstanding instructors, find the love of learning. Don’t let your child fall behind this school year. If you’re interested in learning more, or you are interested in opening The Tutoring Center® in your community and joining a team of more than 120 franchise locations nationwide, please visit our website at TutoringCenter.com.