Parenting and Conflict Resolution Strategies


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Consider a New Way of Resolving Conflict

Recently, I came across new research on conflict resolution strategies that made me question some of my methods of managing behaviors’ as a mother to my children. I typically gave my children three chances in the past, and then they’re out when they misbehave. But since my husband and I started getting firmer with our boys, they have become more compliant and more likely to listen the first time they are asked to tidy up or do something else.


Resolving Conflict – Choose Your Battles

There are times that I still give them two or three chances. This is partially because I hate to have conflict but also because I want to choose my power struggles with the kids.

I ask myself, is it worth it? Who is going to be more upset, them or me? These questions allow me to choose my power struggles wisely; the last thing I want is to have numerous power struggles throughout the day.


New Thinking About Resolving Conflict with Your Kids

For parents, the new framework for resolving conflict is to be more supportive and positive with children. They are viewed as competent, capable, and confident learners, and I could not agree with this more. Part of this framework is essential in encouraging kids to think for themselves and have a say in their lives. I believe kids should be viewed as innovative learners and involved in their development and managing conflict. This new philosophy of positive conflict resolution with kids means that kids have decision-making power and are treated as individuals in disagreements. Of course, the adult still has the final say, but the child can express their feelings and reasonings for wanting to disobey a caregiver.

However, when it comes to managing children’s behavior – do parents need to be 100% positive? Based on my ten years as a pediatrician, I think we have to have a balance. Often, we should guide children through the situations and facilitate how to solve the problem. There are also other times when I believe that a time out or being sent to your room is warranted. Some things just aren’t negotiable. If my boys are aggressive with one another, then they are sent for a time-out.
I feel that this situation needs to deliver a strong message that I do not tolerate violence of any kind, so managing conflict looks a little different in these instances.

At school and daycare, teachers and daycare providers are not allowed to use these conflict resolution strategies. I understand why they are not allowed. This poses a question of how you deliver a message to the child that this is very wrong, it hurts, and can have significant consequences, especially with a preschool-age child.


For Now, We Follow Our Gut & The Rules

For now, I will continue to do what I feel is right as a parent and as a physician.

Making a plan of strategies for dealing with conflict with your kids and helping kids solve conflict is vital in building problem-solving skills in your children. They will take notice of how you decide to handle conflict with them and with other people.


Five (5) Conflict Resolution Strategies to Consider

  1. Reduce the stress of conflict with your children by encouraging them to calm down through any words for them. After this, it will be much easier to have a productive conversation with your child.
  2. Set a good example of conflict resolution skills for your kids. These skills will be essential to learn as they start to build friendships. Model empathy, coping, and brainstorming solutions.
  3. Listen to your child when they are upset with what is being asked of them. Repeat back your interpretation of what they feel. This teaches them empathy and also shows that their voice is being heard. This will help them speak up in the future to other people.
  4. Teach your kids to brainstorm solutions to problems they are having. Sometimes, it’s better not to step in instantly to solve a problem for your child. Eventually, they will be on their own.
  5. Give choices to help children feel in control. For example, if you need them to clean their toys, you can ask them what toy they want to put away first.


The most important thing is to create a positive environment to the extent that you feel is appropriate. In general, your child should feel comfortable expressing themselves without fearing an overly adverse reaction.


Dr Dina Kulik at DrDina Kids Health Blog

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