Kenner Martial Arts Training Center

Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution

It's been a week since schools were shut down. The kids are getting antsy, the parents are tired and need some relief.  We are adjusting to new routines. Children start to clash and fuss.

We are in a challenging situation with the Coronavirus.  We should not be surprised when our children start to yell, bicker or whine or even have fights between each other. It is a normal event that occurs between children especially when their routines are disrupted. This is why conflict resolution is an essential life skill for them to learn. In order to help them, though, early instruction is key in making this a standard routine during disagreements with others.

Often when children are involved in conflict, one of two things happen. Either the parent rushes into save their child or the child goes to an adult immediately. And yes, when there is physical violence  taking place, adults must intervene at once. But when children are arguing over a toy or whose turn it is, they should be given the opportunity to resolve the conflict on their own. Learning this skill is important in the development of friendships. Adults allowing time for this to take place is essential.

It is hard, though, for adults, especially parents to observe their child in the middle of conflict. The first thought it to jump in to alleviate any discomfort. However, doing this does not help children find their own solutions , a skill which is essential in learning conflict management. The best thing to do is observe from a distance and allow the process to happen and intervene if things get physical. Younger children will need more assistance when working through issues with others and, depending on their age, the degree to which adults assist them.

With children ages 3-4 , they are still working on language development and are still egocentric so their conflicts usually result in something physical. Adults need to support them by helping them find the words they need to express how they feel about the situation. Children ages 5-6  are better able to grasp concepts about communication but they are very concrete in their thinking so these skills must be taught in the midst of disagreements. As children get older, they have the basic tools in place to handle more of the conflict on their own and involve adults only if they absolutely can’t work it out.

The best way to start this learning process is by teaching calming techniques such as inhaling for a count of 10, exhaling for a count of 10 before saying or doing anything, and showing empathy to each child. It’s important that they have a safe space to express their feelings about the situation. However, it’s even more important for them to not cast blame and, instead, admit to their part in the conflict since “who started it” doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Help them use “I” statements such as "I feel angry because" not "You did this and it's yoru fault" in an effort to show respect for each other. Then, adults should empower children to brainstorm solutions that result in a compromise.

Our curriculum encompasses lessons on things such as patience, respect, fairness, sharing, and cooperation that are all important in conflict resolution. Yonsei Martial Arts Academy's instructors utilize these lessons in class and present the information in a way that is easily understandable by the age group  it is targeted for. These skills establish a foundation for the higher-level skill of conflict management.

When children are given the tools to work through conflict at an early age, they develop a greater confidence  to brainstorm solutions on their own. Early guidance by trusted adults will help set the stage for success in this area friendships  in. When children can work through things on their own, they feel assured in their own judgments and therefore, help them develop strong the long run.

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