How Do Your Kids Resolve Conflict?

 Kids can resolve conflict!   Unfortunately, we as parents often get in the way of siblings working things out.  



Along with many of you, I cringe when I hear “MOMMY….!!!”  Most of the time it is followed by the recitation of  a crime that has been committed by a “victim” demanding that I act as judge and  preside over the situation.  Here is the amazing part! You don’t have to get involved.

Parents getting in the thick of things often causes problems in the relationships of all involved.   In addition to the relationships already strained, you are caught in the conflict like an insect in a spider’s web.   It takes a lot of your time to be involved in the disputes.

Think about it, if you stay out of the middle….

♦ They both know the truth and are more likely to deal with what actually happened.

♦You could help your children develop conflict resolution skills.

♦ You could help your children become closer by pushing them towards each other.

♦You are helping them take responsibility and create a solution together.

♦You will save time by allowing them to resolve the issues before coming back to you.


I would like to set you free from being judge and jury.  Believe it or not, your children are able to resolve conflict quickly on their own.  


1.  Teach them to be responsible for the own actions.   I would say a child as young as 4 years old can work out conflicts without your help.  Younger children may need you present to make sure that the event is handled correctly.

With all of your children, teach the definition of truthfulness.

TRUTHFULNESS: Telling about past events correctly without changing words to make myself look better.

2.  Before anything happens, explain the plan.  Review the plan. Be with them until you are confident that they understand the process.  You will go into a specified area/room and talk it out.

3.  You will not be permitted to leave the room until both parties feel heard, and the problem is resolved.  At that time siblings return and explain how it was resolved.


Each child takes responsibility for his part in the conflict. And asks for forgiveness. 

The other child decides to forgive or not.  She also will take responsibility for her actions. 

In order to return both children articulate,  “Next time I will _____________.”

(Begin this process with little ones! Start teaching your children how to work together.  Teach it to them.  As they get older they will be able to work it out together)

4. When they are finished talking it out, they come out to the parent and each explains what he or she took responsibility for.  After they take ownership, they explain how they will work on this specific area in the future.

Simply stated, if you are having conflict with anyone in this family, you must work it out with that person.  This is preparing your kids for life!


Exceptions to this approach:

*Repeat offenders who use the process as a way to continue in their crimes.  For a time you may need to be more present with your children to ensure that they are safe, and you can mete out punishments first hand.

* Your children may not be able to do this without you to redirect it.

*  Strong children (physically or mentally) who will bully another child into agreement.  You just need to be nearby to intervene or you need to deal separately with the strong one.

* 90% of the time this works.  There are times when a child is difficult and will need time alone or your intervention.

Excellent article 

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