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How to help kids deal with conflict

We asked real parents to share how they teach their kids about resolving conflict. Check out these great parenting tips for helping your children move past disagreements in a healthy way.

How to help kids deal with conflict

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There are several simple ways to teach your children how to deal with conflict in a positive way. The opportunities abound every day — in the car, at the dinner table, during play dates and in the schoolyard.

Disagreements and differences of opinion will always be a natural part of relationships with friends and family members, from childhood into adulthood.

In fact, it can even be healthy for children to experience some conflict (within reason) as it helps minimize their fear of the negative consequences of sharing their emotions.

Seeing others resolving their differences in a healthy, respectful manner shows children how to coexist and co-operate in all kinds of situations. We spoke with some parents about how easy it can be to teach children of all ages about conflict resolution.

1. Teach them to compromise and respect
“Even as early as kindergarten we try to teach compromise. If five kids want to play with one toy, they have to wait and take turns. We say ‘I know you’re feeling angry but…’ and ‘Don’t use your hands, use your words.'”¬†
— Cathy, mother of two and kindergarten teacher, London, Ont.

2. Follow through on your word
“My sons are nine and seven, and I don’t do anything really revolutionary, but if I have to remind them that we have a ‘no hitting or the Nintendo DS gets taken away’ rule, I always follow through.”
Karen, mother of two, Kingston, Ont.

3. Think quality over quantity
“Fairness is a big source of conflict in our household. We try to squash the scorekeeping of ‘She got this/He got that’ by putting the focus on the quality rather than the quantity. Our son plays rep hockey, which is quite expensive. Rather than trying to spend equivalent dollars on our daughter, we have special spa days and treat her in other ways that are more meaningful to her.”
— Tahra, mother of two, Belleville, Ont.

Page 1 of 2 — Learn how to get your kids to take responsibility and make them accountable for their actions on page 2.

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