Article Review: 5 Steps to Help Kids Resolve Conflicts

Kids of different ethnicities in circle smiling. True diversity

I was just talking with a teacher colleague today (after her daughter’s tutoring session) about how kids today have very little experience with settling conflicts on their own. So, this article was right on time. The poster below comes from the article, “5 Steps to Help Kids Resolve Conflicts,” on the Sunshine Parenting blog. In the article, the author provides great strategies for resolving conflicts. More importantly, the author provides tools for helping kids to resolve conflicts on their own. That is a big plus with me! 

I am reading My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George with her daughter. In addition to the theme of survival, I also stressed the main character’s ability to solve problems using common sense, constant observation, and learned information. I also introduced conflict as part of our lesson.

I explained that the main character, Sam Gribley, experienced a few conflicts throughout the story, including conflict with nature, society, and other humans. It is one of my favorite novels to read and one of the few I remember reading as an elementary student.

The idea of resolving conflicts opened up our session of reminiscing. My colleague proudly stated that she spent her summers outside and came inside when the street lights came on. I agreed and stated that we were only allowed in for food and bathroom (my grandmother had a porch, so we ate outside). I also stressed that we had to solve our problems, our conflicts with other neighborhood kids on our own. 

Although this article is addressed to parents, it was also a very good resource for teachers. I work with first and second-grade students where lower grade drama is right out of an episode of the cartoon Recess. I used to use the Five B’s to help my students understand what were real emergencies and what were solvable conflicts. They were Blood, Bathroom, Barfing, Bullying, and Beating.  

It may sound a little tough, but when you have 20+ first or second graders saying they have an emergency, you need to have a quick triage approach. The kids found this humorous and a helpful guideline as to what should be an emergency. (I could ask if it was one of the 5 B’s; the response would be, “No, but it is important.”) 

Helping Kids Today Solve Conflicts


How Big is My Problem Poster,

This poster helped me to realize what the kids today need the extra help with resolving conflicts even if their parents grew up in the same era as I did. I like this poster because it encourages students to analyze the situation and to find appropriate solutions to resolve the conflicts.

It promotes the independence that I was encouraged to have when I was growing up. In my house, it had to be a dire emergency for me to ask for help from my parents. I am not saying that scenario was right; it was just my reality.

That had been my biggest obstacle: understanding how parents who grew up during the time period I did would still need articles to help them raise their children. I realized that those same parents may not have had the gift of advice from older relatives like my parents did when I was young. That is why this article is very important. 

We need to get back to giving kids the permission and tools to resolve conflicts on their own. If we do not encourage children to solve conflicts on their own, we run the risk of encouraging them to become future adults who blame others for their circumstances. 

This article was printed at the right time, and it should be shared with every parent and all teachers. So stop by Sunshine Parenting to read the full article. 

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