Kids argue, that’s what they do. No matter how you raise them and how loving, compassionate, empathetic and caring they are, there will be a moment in which they will fail to agree and get stuck in a point where there is no compromise. Yelling starts, tantrums might happen and they can even become aggressive. Don’t panic, it’s totally normal.
All human beings get into situations where they have conflicting points of view about certain things. The important thing is not to stop the conflict at all cost, but to use each conflict as an opportunity to teach your children how to talk in a constructive way even if the disagree about something. This will solve this conflict and future ones.
Steps of conflict solving:
- Listen to everybody involved, respect their points of view and try to clarify what the problem or problems are. Make a list if there are more problems that need to be solved and attend each of them. Ask everyone if you understood things correctly so you make sure everybody feels their needs are acknowledged.
- Work with everyone in order to process the situation. Remember to show empathy to both children, don’t take sides and listen to everybody involved. Everybody deserves to share their opinion and be respected.
- Find the best solution. Try to clarify what the best solution might be and present solid arguments for choosing a certain solution and not another. For each of the problems presented at the beginning you need to go through this process, until everything is solved and everybody is content. Don’t try to avoid some problems and push them under the rug because they will come up eventually.
Things that help in solving conflicts:
- Truly listen to everybody, not just pretend. Children feel when you fake it!
- Say you are sorry when you are wrong in order to be a good role model for your children. If they see you do it, it will be easier for them to do it. Mature parents apologize to their children!
- Acknowledge disappointment and pain. Don’t belittle their feelings, it will only hurt your children and intensify their negative emotions.
- Agree to disagree. Sometimes there is no compromise and your children will just have different opinions about something. Teach them to be okay with that and move on.
- Don’t give them your solution. Help them process things on their own and find their own solution. You might be surprised to see their solution is more creative and appropriate most of the time.
- Use time-out. When things are too intense tell them to take a break, relax and think about things before they search for a solution.
Conflicts should be seen as opportunities and used wisely. Without them you would not get the chance to teach them with actual examples how to behave in the future in situations that include conflict and disagreement. Here are some things your children should learn from their conflicts:
- It’s okay for them to disagree with the people around them.
- It’s healthy and mature to apologize when you are wrong.
- They should not be afraid to express their opinion openly even if it doesn’t match the opinions around him.
- They should learn how to express their opinion in a healthy way.
- They should not yell or become aggressive while having an argument.
- They should take time to ponder their thoughts before they get into a disagreement.
They should use empathy towards those around them.