Dealing with conflict is rarely easy. This is particularly true when you are a kid. Sometimes kids do not have the needed emotional capacities to be patient in the face of frightening circumstances. This is only natural - children do not have enough life experience to tackle problems in a composed way. Some kids even use conflict to vent their repressed anger or sadness. Others might withdraw to themselves. However, it is vital to address problems your kid might encounter on time. Otherwise, they might adopt damaging coping mechanisms and behavioral patterns that might harm them and, ultimately, everyone around them. For this reason, we will help you understand the way to go about teaching kids how to deal with conflict in the right way.
On the one hand, your kid might be temperamental, making them inclined to react to provocation or disagreement in a brash way. On the other, your kid might be sensitive to criticism and attacks, thus impacting their self-confidence and social skills. Either way, there is a right and wrong way to deal with conflict. As a parent, it is your job to teach your child important skills. From teaching your kids how to steward their money to helping them resolve conflict in a healthy way, there’s plenty you can do to influence your child’s outlook on life.
Take note of the triggers that lead to conflict
First of all, both you and your kid need to understand that conflict is an inextricable part of day-to-day life. After all, being a part entails much more than just financial planning for the newest addition and purchasing baby supplies – it also requires some skills that all good parents need to posses. Knowing how to handle arguments, accusations, discussions, and fights is a skill worth learning. In most cases, your child’s reaction will signal deeper insecurities or struggles. What specific triggers make your kid lash out at your parents, siblings, or peers? Once you know what the actual source of the problem is, you will be one step closer to teaching kids how to deal with conflict.
One way to help your child deal with conflict is to ask about what they feel in situations that result in conflict. Do they feel ashamed, degraded, hurt, or angry? It is also important to pin down their thought processes in these situations. They might have been hurting because of something completely unrelated to the actual conflict in question.
Teaching kids how to deal with conflict is best done by setting a good example
Children are very impressionable, and they will tend to deal with stressful situations the same way they see you do it. As a parent, it is your responsibility to be a good role model to your child. Patience can be practiced, and being patient with and around your kid will set up a behavioral model the child can look up to.
For instance, moving away from home and family and settling in another environment usually makes kids feel anxious or sad. However, setting a good example and approaching the situation calmly will help them accept it. If they see that you are yelling, fuming, and lashing out at everyone that comes your way during the transition to a new home, they will probably feel stressed, insecure, and finally, grumpy and irritable.
Address your kid’s feelings through books, movies, drawing…
If your child refuses to discuss the situation openly, there are other ways to tap into their inner workings. A few good things that came out of the coronavirus pandemic which has had the world switch to working from home, the biggest one being that now you have more time to dedicate to your children and the activities they like. The following strategies are most suited to approaching younger children as they might not even be able to put to words what they feel.
Find a cartoon or book that your kid usually enjoys and focus on the situations and facial expressions. It could be Frozen or the Bible. If your kid is too impatient to read or focus on the screen, you can ask them to draw together. Ask your kid to draw what makes him happy, sad, and angry. Or, bring a chart of facial expressions in the form of a coloring book.
With these minor distractions, you will be able to ask your kid how they feel while doing something that they enjoy. When they are relaxed and engaged, kids tend to lower their defenses. Also, such meditative and attention-grabbing activities also help the child relax and control any feelings of guilt, shame, or anger about the situation. Make use of your kid’s creative impulses. They can tell you a lot about their feelings and the reasoning behind their actions and thoughts.
Once you manage to pull this to the surface, you can teach them how they should behave without sounding patronizing. Also, it is better to use role models and third-person pronouns to do this. For instance, you could say, ‘Isn’t’ Scar’s revenge on Mufasa wrong?’ rather than saying, ‘You cannot fight with your friends in daycare.’
Talk them through the problem
For some kids, understanding what they feel might not be an easy task. There are so many physiological and emotional triggers that make self-assessment challenging. For instance, once kids turn the age of 12, the hormonal changes in their bodies might obscure rational thought processes. Entering puberty is challenging for kids because they themselves do not understand the motivations and urges that make them react inadequately during the conflict. However, verbalizing emotions and thoughts will bring the child closer to understanding what makes them upset.
As a solution, you should try to express interest in your kid’s outer and inner life without passing judgment. Your child must know they can talk to you about the inner turmoil they might be feeling.
And this is not just because of the parent-child relationship. While creating a safe space where your kid feels they can talk to you about their problems is an important building block toward a healthy relationship, it is also crucial that your child gets in the habit of discussing their feelings and opinions. Bottling up can lead to serious emotional neglect and complications that might rob your child of important social skills. For this reason, an occasional honest, calm conversation with your child might go a long way when it comes to teaching kids how to deal with conflict.
Assistant Content WriterPhone: (929)-429-2712
Turning Point Counseling
Help for our family finances