How to Teach Conflict Resolution to Kids

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  • 0:03 Children & Conflict
  • 1:09 Conflict Resolution at School
  • 2:17 Conflict Resolution at Home
  • 3:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Millicent Kelly

Millicent has been teaching at the university level since 2004. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Human Resources.

This lesson will review the most effective ways to teach conflict resolution skills to children that can be utilized by educators, parents, and caregivers. The benefits of teaching conflict resolution strategies to children will also be discussed.

Children & Conflict

''Mom!!! She took my last cookie without asking, and she ate it right in front of me so I pushed her down! That's why she's crying, but she started it by taking my last cookie!!'' Does this sound at least vaguely familiar to you? It's probably safe to say that the majority of us have experienced incidents of children who are in conflict with each other, and although incidents such as this one seem minor to adults, they may be perceived as significant sources of frustration by children.

Conflict can find children rather easily in a variety of situations and locations, such as at school, on the playground, at the practice fields, or at home. Whenever children are interacting with others, the potential to experience conflict exists. This is primarily due to the fact that children have limited conflict resolution skills, and their immaturity can lead to acting out in situations where conflict arises. It's important that effective conflict resolution strategies be introduced to children as early as possible in order to mitigate potential aggressive responses to conflict as they mature.

Conflict Resolution at School

In order to equip children to effectively deal with conflict, it's important to provide them with the tools to do so in both educational and home settings.

Since children spend a significant part of their lives at school where they have to interact with their peers, conflict can arise frequently in school settings. There are several ways educators can teach conflict resolution skills, including:

Setting expectations for a peaceful classroom

Communicating to children that there is a respectful classroom environment expectation where everyone is valued can decrease the likelihood of conflicts arising.

Using peer mediation

When conflicts arise, allow each child to voice their point of view in front of their peers and let everyone work together to come up with a satisfactory solution.

Using school guidance counselors

Guidance counselors often have access to effective conflict management lessons that they can deliver in a proactive manner in order to minimize conflicts.

Providing ample positive feedback

When children feel they are valued, it increases their self-esteem and motivates them to be their best

Conflict Resolution at Home

Conflict can occur in the home as well, especially between siblings and even during play dates with friends. Parents can empower their children to become problem-solvers by taking the following approaches to conflicts:

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