Quick Steps to Conflict Resolution

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Quick Steps to Conflict Resolution
© Anne Geller

Next time you catch your children embroiled in an altercation in which you think one or the other of them might actually lose their life, try these steps:

  • Ask each of them to stop and take some deep breaths (you can take some too, you probably need them).
  • Acknowledge the feelings of each child.
  • Ask "What's the problem?". Seek an answer that is not blaming of another person, but states the problem in neutral terms (e.g., "I want my hairbrush back and she has it" vs. "She stole my hairbrush again.").
  • Ask for some possible solutions to this problem. Consider the merits of each solution.
  • Ask your children to choose a solution.
  • Later, ask how that solution worked.
  • If not, what’s another solution?

Although this process takes a lot longer than saying "Give your sister her hairbrush back", over the long haul you will reap the benefits of teaching your children to solve their own conflicts. Moreover, you will be teaching your children a skill that is one of the most important for life success.

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