Tools to teach children how to handle everyday conflicts

Conflicts are a normal part of life and it is best to learn to manage them from an early age. It may become easier as one becomes an adult, to talk things through and resolve conflict issues, but with children it can be a more tricky.

According to Educational Psychologist at Family Life Centre, Claudia Abelheim, children may not understand conflict as clearly as adults do, but they feel it and experience it. They know when another child is getting a better toy or more attention from parents, she says.

When children are little, before they have the vocabulary to express how they feel, they will show you through their behaviour. They sometimes throw tantrums or physically hurt their siblings

Claudia Abelheim, Educational Psychologist at Family Life Centre

Abelheim says that most children need very specific adult guidance to help them cool off and reach a good resolution.

She says that parents can also help by labeling their feelings for them, and help them understand the situation. Parents can do it by explaining the four categories of feelings in simple times - mad, bad, sad and glad.

You start teaching them from a little age how to cool off, whether is taking a deep breath, going for a ride or punching their pillow - just something that can stop them from hurting the next person or hurt themselves.

Claudia Abelheim, Educational Psychologist at Family Life Centre

Redi Tlhabi also spoke to Chenay Garrett, School principal at SPARK Cresta about the school's strategies in helping children handle conflicts.

SPARK Cresta has developed a social and emotional curriculum tool box that help children deal with conflict on a daily basis.

The school uses visual tools with different symbols to help the children remember. The tool box is introduced to the parents at the beginning of the year as a way to keep the methods consistent both at school and in the home environment.

Listen to the full conversation below:


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