Dealing with Social Conflicts

  • 1. Conflict in Friendship

    Two persons cannot long be friends , if they cannot forgive each others failings


    Conflict is a normal and healthy part of any relationship, no relationship can exist without it.

    Children need to learn the skills that will help them resolve problems that they have with their friends.   Although it may be tempting to solve the children's problems for them, try to resist that urge.  Of course there will be times where children will need immediate adult intervention, especially in times where the situation can become dangerous. 


    Children need to be empowered to problem solve for themselves. 

    You can help your child by:


    • Teaching them the steps and skills ( such as the one in this pamplet) needed to handle problems.  Guiding them through the steps.


    • Roll play solutions with your child


    • Encourage your child keep a journal to help them become more self-aware and reflective about their feelings and how they deal with problems


    • Be a positive role model for your child. Solve problems peacefully.  Never underestimate the power of  your influence.



    Positive Communication

    This method of positive communication will not come easy. It may feel awkward at first. Experiment with this and find a way that is most comfortable for you and your family. It does not need to be this formulaic, it should just have all of the previously stated elements.


    When used correctly, I messages are simple, powerful ways to communicate feelings, show empathy and open up two-way communication. 

    "I feel_____________________"

    Always begin with the statement "I".   "I" puts the focus on your feelings and needs. "You" puts the other person in the defensive.

    Clearly and simply say how you feel.



    Clearly and simply state what the other person did that has an impact on you. This must be a specific behavior.  Instead of saying "mean"- What exactly is the child doing that is mean?- calling them names?, not sharing?



    Say why you feel the way you do and how you are impacted by the person's behavior.



    State how you would like the person's behavior to changeot what you would like to see happen next.


    Listen carefully to what the other person has to say.  There may be a reason for his/her behavior.


    When teaching I messages, it is important to keep the goal of better and more open communication in mind.  Help your child learn to request specific behavior from the listener in a careful way, otherwise it can backfire and shut down communication.  When you teach your child to use these messages regularly within a culture where feeling are valued and share, they can be a very effective way to handle conflict peacefully.



    Instead of "You are so selfish "

    Help your child say- "I feel frustrated when you don't share with me

    because I think that it means you don't like me enough. Please share."


    Instead of  "You are so mean"

    "I feel upset when you don't play with me because I think you don't want to be friends with me. Can we please come up with a time to play together?"

    Teach by example, use I messages with your children.

    "I feel frustrated that you did not complete your English paper that was due, because I know you are capable of doing the work, and will fail if you don't turn in your assignments. When will you complete it?"


    "I feel disappointed when I hear you teasing the new student John. Please help him feel welcome from now on"

    "I feel proud when I see you helping our little sister because it show me that you believe it is important to help one another.  That is important to this family."


    These are not "I messages"

    "I am so mad at you for being late and irresponsible. You are in trouble now mister"

    "I feel you are stupid because that's the way you act and I don't like it"