Conflict is a normal part of children’s everyday lives. Some of the typical ways that children respond to conflict include arguing, tattling, physical aggression or backing off and avoiding each other. If we do not negotiate with children then they will not learn this important skill. The ways in which adults respond to children’s conflicts effects their behavior and development in powerful ways. Modeling how to negotiate is necessary to teach children and young adults how to do it the right way. Coaching children through conflict resolution and social problem solving helps them to feel a part of the process. It shows them that it can work so that they can start to build their own skills. If we help children to see conflict as a shared problem to be solved, then we can support them in guided practice.
What are the skills required for effective negotiation and conflict resolution?
- Be a good listener. Listen to what the other person wants and needs. Consider their perspective on the matter.
- Be flexible. Flexible thinking is necessary to achieve a win – win.
- Manage strong emotions. Anger and anxiety can get in the way of negotiation. Calm down first before problem solving.
- Identify the size of the problem and match an appropriate reaction.
Children learn the meaning of the word conflict in this video
This video is a great conversation starter on the need for flexibility when negotiating. The story is from the book
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I am looking forward to Candy’s (our Elf on a Shelf) return from the North Pole.