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Helping-Your-Child-Cope-With-Conflict

Helping Your Child Cope With Conflict

Conflict with others is a normal part of life for children, they all have different needs and preferences. Problems often arise because children don't have the skills to avoid or resolve conflict alone. Also, conflict has varying levels of severity. A simple disagreement can be resolved by the child. But a more severe incident like physical contact can escalate the problem to a code red. 

When your children reach that age that it's now viable for them to venture outside to play on their own, this is when they come vulnerable and open to conflict with others. 

When your child comes in visibly upset because someone has been mean to them it’s so tempting to go out gun hoe in utter frustration and put that child in their place, but you cannot. I have experienced conflict lately and because of it, my child won’t go out to play as often. She knows the other person has being mean and refuses to put herself in that situation. I do admire this approach but she is the one losing out on playing outside with other friends. 

So; when and do you intervene in their arguments or do you let them sort it themselves?

I think one of the hardest things as a parent is dealing with conflict between your child and their friends.
One parent told me:

‘Get involved when your child’s mood seems to go through changes because then you know there is something wrong’.

This I totally agree with when changes in mood and behaviour are obvious it is time to approach the conflict. At this point, it has already grown out of proportion and needs to be dealt with. 

What do you do? I have struggled with how to approach this subject, so I decided to do a mini survey and ask some parents. 

The response was varied some saying they would not interfere unless it was serious. One mother made a very good point:

"I try to avoid it where possible. Kids fall out all the time & make up just as quickly and in some instances, you as the mum have fallen out with another mum. Adult friendships are harder to repair!’ 

This is a big problem with conflict, it can turn ugly very quickly when parents start falling out with other parents. It is not the ideal situation, and really, we are not teaching our children how conflict should be solved properly. A mother’s instinct is to protect their child no matter what. Some more fierce than others. 

Some mothers take the gentler approach to conflict between children one mother wrote:

'99% of the time I don’t. But that 1% when I do would be when it’s with the same child all the time and I think it’s getting a bit extreme' in nine years of parenting I have got involved twice and that was just bringing it up in passing with the other mammy.’ 

Approaching the parent instead of the child in question can have a calmer resolution to the problem and be much quicker. Not all parents are aware of what is going on outside. They may have younger children to care for and so cannot be as vigilant as others. That parent may be grateful to know the situation. 

One of the parents in the survey has a very diplomatic way of approaching conflict with her children. This is from a learned experience, from when going head first into the conflict did not work for her. She needed a new approach. 

‘I usually address the children collectively. Can you all be nice to each other? Keep our hands to ourselves. One time I was not so diplomatic and an irate father called to my door to say I had made his daughter cry. I did not feel good’. 

Many parents have many opinions in solving conflict, what would be or what has been your approach to conflict?

About the Author

 ‘The Stay at home Mum’

Louise is a full-time writer, blogger and stay at home mum of three. These three are her reason to live but also the reason for her love of a good wine. To describe motherhood Louise would use just these six words Joyous, exhausting, daunting, love, protective, unconditional.   

Louise writes everyday life articles, adult fiction and children’s stories. Louise has successfully written for other publications like Intrigue.ie and The M Word.

Pop over to find out more about Louise and read some of her work on Facebook and on her website.

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