Under normal circumstances, conflict is already an unavoidable part of everyday life. But staying at home for too long during the coronavirus outbreak can lead to frayed nerves, increasing the potential for conflict. Use this situation to teach your children how to effectively deal with conflict, an essential skill that can prove incredibly useful in all realms of life.
Teach Them to Count to Three and Breathe
Teach your children this simple technique to avoid conflicts from getting out of hand. Ask them to count to three and breathe deeply whenever they feel too upset. Tell them to feel the ground beneath their feet and close their eyes for a second if doing so helps them focus. Turning this simple exercise into a habit will help them deal more rationally with conflict by making strong emotions less intense and therefore more manageable.
Focus on Solutions, Not on Blame
Feeling overwhelmed by emotions is normal in children, so share this key strategy with them. Focusing on solutions goes a long way towards resolving conflicts. In fact, the source of a conflict is always a problem, but very often heated emotions get on the way and arguments take an unpleasant turn. A good way to counteract this common tendency is identifying the problem that is causing the conflict and focusing on solving it, instead of resorting to assigning blame or being overly critical.
Talk About Feelings
When emotions boil over, objective thinking goes out of the window. Talking about our feelings is a good way to get in contact with them; the more we know ourselves, the less likely we are to get into a state of mind that is unhelpful to resolve conflict. Furthermore, teaching your children to talk about their feelings in a calm way, even when those feelings upset them, will allow them to communicate in a constructive manner when a conflict arises.
Model Effective Conflict Resolution
As we have mentioned in previous posts, the most effective way to teach your children a life skill is modelling it yourself. These are some attitudes you may adopt at home, so your children get firsthand experience of effective conflict resolution strategies.
- Embrace conflict: treat conflict as a normal part of human relationships.
- Listen: Listening carefully is the base of great conflict resolution. Make sure your children feel you are listening to them whenever there is a conflict to resolve.
- Find common ground: Emphasize the need to reach agreements with the other person in order to resolve conflict.
- Provide a clear resolution: No matter how heated the conflict, forgiveness is essential to provide a sense of resolution and move forward.
Guiding your children as they learn to deal with their emotions is one of your most important challenges. Below you will find some previous posts you may find useful in this rewarding task.
- How to help your children through transitions.
- Teach your children how to be assertive.
- Use these strategies to help your children develop leadership skills.
- Fun games to develop leadership skills in children.
Akoma Unity Center (AUC) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, grassroots organization committed to the progress of African American youth, families, and communities.
We are located in 1367 N California St., San Bernardino, California. Contact us today by telephone (909-217-7956), email (email@example.com), or through our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) to learn more about our programs and services specifically designed to meet the needs of historically excluded African American youth and communities.