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5 Tips to Help Coach Your Child Through Conflict

5 Tips to Help Coach Your Child Through Conflict
By Aurora McCausland

Conflict is an unavoidable part of life. Unfortunately, no one is exempt. The older you get, the more equipped you are to handle conflict in a mature and even manner. You gain these life skills through the experiences and mistakes from your past. When it comes to your children, it can be really hard to not get frustrated when they handle conflict in a different way than how you would handle it. When this happens, it’s important to remember that your child doesn’t have the life experience that you have to handle this situation. But you can still help your child navigate their way through this conflict, without taking away the necessary learning experience. Here are a few tips to coach your child through conflict.

Help them calm down

No one, even you, can handle a situation correctly if they are heated and mad. So let everyone involved in the situation have a moment to calm down. Breathe. Every child is going to be different, so help them figure out what helps them calm down. This could be doing breathing exercises, counting to 100, or going on a short walk. Ask your child what would help them calm down, and then help them achieve that. If your child is fighting with a sibling or friend over a toy, maybe remove the toy while everyone calms down. I know this sounds strange, but revisit these skills when you’re teaching your teen to drive. Road rage ranks right up there with texting and drinking when it comes to unsafe behavior on the road, and it’s something that we’re all vulnerable to. This is a great time to practice self-soothing skills.

State the problem

It’s hard to solve a problem if you don’t know what the problem is. Ask your child to identify the problem. Be patient with them. It’s important to wait until they’ve had a moment to calm down before you ask them this question, so they’ve had a chance to regain some of their rationality and can discuss the problem with you in a calm manner. If you ask them what the problem is before they’ve calmed down, it’s likely that you’ll be met with sassy or moody remarks. Additionally, sometimes it’s hard for children to see the real reason that they’re lashing out over something, and it gets more and more important to identify underlying reasons for behavior as we get older. For example, is there actually an undercurrent of depression and/or anxiety that’s fueling outbursts?

Help understand the problem

Once you’ve identified the problem, help them realize how the problem came to be. Encourage them to be honest and open, as well as describing the situation with “I” statements. Such as, “I felt left out and hurt when my brother played my favorite game without me”. At this point, have them recount the chain of events, honestly, from their point of view, so you can see how the conflict transpired and came to be.

Practice Apologies

Apologizing can be hard. But it’s important, for the development of your child’s emotional intelligence, which will carry them into adulthood. A good apology should communicate three things: Regret, responsibility, and remedy.
Firstly, your child should genuinely feel bad for the negative impact they played in the situation. Helping them realize their mistakes should help them feel more regret.

Assuming responsibility is the next important step. They need to realize that no one forced them to act out in anger, that their actions are their own. The remedy to the solution should begin with your child asking for forgiveness from whoever they have wronged.

Avoid bad apologies. This often includes verbiage such as blaming the victim, making excuses, or justifying their behavior. By taking responsibility for their actions, your child will learn how to handle these situations on their own as they get older. They won’t always have there to help coach them through these tough situations, so you need to help them acquire the necessary skills to handle conflict like a pro when they reach adulthood.

Find a solution

Once they have gone through the other steps, it’s time to help them come up with a solution to make the situation better. Ask them what they think will make it better. You can make from suggestions from there to modify their idea until it can help make the situation better.

Today's guest post is from the lovely Christine Hill.
Christine is a professional writer and an avid reader who’s passionate about storytelling in any form. At any given moment, she’s in the middle of at least three books on anything from psychology to ninjas. Although she’s a marathon swimmer and enjoys camping in the mountains, she believes there’s nothing better than a carton of ice cream and a Dawson’s Creek marathon. She blogs about marketing here. Follow more of her writing on Twitter @readwritechill.

#ChristineHill #GuestBlogger #ChildrenandConflict #conflict resolution

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