Resolving disputes and conflicts between children and young people | ©: XtravaganT – Fotolia
Suddenly screams come from the nursery or one of the children comes crying. These or similar situations are everyday life for most parents and are often difficult to handle properly. When children argue, we stand between the chairs, because we actually have nothing to do with it. However, most parents use a few simple strategies to quickly end disputes between children. They think they should resolve the conflict now. They scream, criticize, separate the children or speak a word of power. It’s all pretty simple and quick, but it does little or nothing.
The children have neither learned anything, nor has the dispute been forgotten. The next time, often in the next few minutes, it will start again. No matter what it’s about, children argue and that’s a good thing. Because children demonstrate their power, their social status in the group through disputes and assert ownership claims. They do this over and over again and also very intensely. The children must be allowed to do something like that. In this way they train how to deal with border and conflict situations, they need such experiences.
Disputes are important experiences for the children
If children do not agree, become louder and let their emotions run free, then this should not be rated as negative or even interrupted. Rather, it should, of course, only be tolerated to a certain extent. In most cases, the children mean absolutely no evil. Your goal is not to hurt the other like some adults, but just to clarify points of view. Most of the time, it’s not about toys, but rather about basic things. Who is at the top of the group, who has to submit, who is allowed to do what and who owns what. If the children are prohibited from clarifying these basic things independently, then they will the small thus massively disturbed in a very important learning process by parents, teachers or other people.
It should not be the motto to intervene in small but also in long-lasting disputes, but rather to wait and let the children resolve the dispute independently. No matter if bad words are spoken, meanness is said and shouted. It is less about how exactly the argument is, but more about whether the children are able to find a solution on their own. It is also the case that very socially active children often quarrel. As a result, they will have more solutions for different situations later in life. It is worse than arguing if children never quarrel. Because then they will have great problems dealing with conflict situations at a young age, but especially as adults. So you should always let children fight alone, but if it gets too bad, you can intervene very carefully.
Intervene – But please be careful
Of course it can happen that it gets too violent and that verbal injuries also result in physical injuries. Then of course it makes sense to stop this and to help solve the problem. Even then, it must not be the case that the parents take complete control or even yell at the children and simply reprimand them. Rather, it is important to be very careful. The most important thing is to remain neutral. Every child expects its own parents to stand on its side and if they don’t, the next argument is bound to happen. But if you stand neutral in between, you teach the children justice and fairness. This is how very few parents behave, many have completely different interests.
Parents are often not looking for a solution to the dispute, but rather looking for a solution to their own calm. Rather, it is about their own needs, they want peace and harmony and the children are disturbed. It is not a question of resolving the dispute through a compromise, but of satisfying your own needs again. The parents have their peace, but the children continue to have a problem. Therefore, it is important, even if it is difficult to stay patient and really only intervene when there is no other way. But even then, as a mediator, you must not seize decision-making power. Because what did the children learn from it if the argument simply ended? You don’t have to solve disputes. This is not very quality Strategy to get through life well. It is much better to teach the children to solve disputes themselves.
Resolve an argument
The best way to resolve a dispute between two children is to have both children speak alternately, and you only play the neutral mediator yourself, as long as it takes time to find a solution. This is the only way for children to have their own experiences and learn to resolve disputes in a peaceful way. But it is even better to teach children how to argue properly and how to find compromises through proper preparation. This is good for the children and the parents also have less trouble in the long run. In the form of simple and logical rules, you can get children to do just that. The most important thing is to stick to these rules yourself.
No matter whether you are arguing with your own children, your partner or anyone else. Children learn from what their parents do to them and if they don’t follow the rules, why should they do it? It is also important to explain these rules to the children over and over again until they are in the flesh and blood. It is important to ensure that the kids do not just follow the rules blindly left, but that they really understand the reasons for them. If children have the right reasons, then they do almost everything completely voluntarily and on their own.
Here are the three most important rules for children to argue:
Rule number 1:
Disputes only take place on a verbal level, the body is never used. That means no blows, no pushing, no biting or scratching. It is also not thrown at one another with objects: the best way to convey this to children is to make them aware of the sequence of violent acts. For example, you are reminded of the last injuries and how painful they were or how someone else cried terribly because he or she was beaten.
Rule number 2:
Only two people argue. A single child in a group of several is never hostile. This is absolutely forbidden and must be made very clear to the children. This can also be illustrated in previously experienced situations or through an RPG.
Rule number 3:
Peace is always made. The point is not that one emerges from the dispute as the winner and the other as the loser, but that an acceptable agreement is reached. Most of the time, children can do this themselves, but if it doesn’t work at all, there is still an emergency solution. It has proven particularly useful for smaller children to put them together in one room. Most of them will find a solution.
Conclusion – arguing yes, but right
Overall, it’s all about teaching children that disputes are normal. However, never use physical violence. It is also not allowed to start with more than one person. In the end, peace must always be made through a compromise that is mutually acceptable. It is important for parents not to interfere if possible. But if it does have to be, for example due to physical attacks, then a neutral position must be taken. Quarreling is good, helps us to get along in our social fabric and to find our place. Therefore children should always argue and let a solution be found independently.
Dispute between children or adolescents in the youth group or during the youth leisure time
Of course, the argument is also part of everyday life in a youth group or holiday camp. I personally have never had any free time where there was at least one argument, argument or disagreement among the children or young people. I think that’s normal and is just part of it. And as long as the matter does not turn into a physical argument, there is no great reason to intervene. Rather, I have observed and tried to understand the arguments of one and the other, or to find out the cause of the dispute. Then you can intervene as a mediator and find a solution in a conciliatory discussion. Views can be exchanged, maybe holding up a mirror, which was necessary for a minimal reason in order to argue so much.
I have often seen the opponents become best friends afterwards. The youth leader has an important function here in observing, mediating and reflecting the triggers and nullities of a dispute. The background and causes that led to the dispute are often not obvious. Even small things lead to an outbreak of anger or to an argument. Perhaps because in the run-up, who always neglected one, felt less valued. Or the other person didn’t get what he was used to getting. The problem may not be in the other, but in your own emotional world. Now children can do this not always Recognize that even young people find it difficult to convey, but the youth leader can at least shed some light on the perspectives and causes in conversation.
Every dispute reveals smoldering problems within a youth group (or school class) and offers the chance to discover, analyze and talk about these problems together.
If it is possible to resolve disputes and conflicts together in a conversation, then everyone involved has learned a great deal. These arguments are part of growing up, not only that, they are part of life. If children are not allowed to learn to fight and fight, how should they ever learn to be able to resolve disputes and conflicts.
However, if you see the wars, conflicts and quarrels in this world and in many families, then the children have no good role models.
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