Over the weekend, I decided to take my kids to the nearby elementary school to play on the playground. While we were looking around, I noticed this conflict-resolution chart painted on the ground. It had nine segments that said:
- Ignore it
- Wait and cool off
- Talk it out
- Go to another game
- Share and take turns
- Make a deal
- Tell them to stop
- Walk away
I applaud this school for using the playground as a place to teach kids multiple ways to resolve a conflict.
As parents, we should have this list painted somewhere on our “playground.” We also need to be reminded that sometimes the right answer to conflict with our children (or other adults) is to apologize, talk it out, or even walk away, as the chart says. Just because we have more life experience and knowledge than our kids, does not mean these suggestions do not apply to us.
Sometimes when I am frustrated with my children, I find the best solution is to “make a deal” … “If you get ready for bed before 8, then we can play a game.” Or to “talk it out” … “If you feel like your curfew is unreasonable, please explain why you feel that way, and let’s discuss what time you think would be more appropriate.”
Conflict as an adult isn’t much different than conflict on the playground. Our kids deserve parents who listen with respect and try to resolve the conflict with compassion and understanding.
How do you deal with conflict?
How do you teach your children to deal with conflict?