Conflict Management

As parents we set the example through role modeling.  Watching parents argue and how they make up sets the pattern for our children to follow.  Young children will only be upset with parents arguing if you are going to argue it is better not to do so infront of your child. With older children show constructive conflict resolution.   Supervision is needed for young children and babies as they may be at risk of being hurt. 


With older children much of their bickering can be ignored.  Don’t take sides or compare one child with the other as this may only stir up the tension between siblings or encourage stubbornness.  Help children how to resolve conflicts by using their words not their actions, to talk about things later after the heat of the moment has subsided.  Not to blame or to accuse but to talk about their feelings and ways they may be able to resolve their differences. Discuss with your children how everyone is different and we all have different ideas and ways of doing things.  Being different is not being wrong.  It is not who wins the fight but how we fight that matters.  Teach your children how to say sorry, how to apologise for their bad behaviour and angry outbursts. 
 
With little children get down to their level, look them in the eye and explain that their actions are not friendly, give them a warning and follow through with the appropriate action if needed.  Give lots of praise when your children are playing nicely together and treating each other with respect.  Comment on their good behaviour. “It makes mummy and daddy very happy when you are playing gently and being kind to one another.” Try to ignore all negative attention seeking behaviour.  If possible turn your back to it, if not try to distract their attention away form the negative behaviour.

 

Again never compare one child against the other or speak badly about your children in their or their siblings hearing. Children understand and take in a lot more than we imagine.  Speak positively over your children for either way they will try to live up to what you have spoken over them wether positively or negatively.  Enjoy each child for their individual qualities and traits. 

Parents need to be flexible yet consistent with their approach on discipline.  Discuss and agree on what boundaries and the method of discipline the family will use and support each other showing that you are united and working together.

 

Tips to avoid family conflict:
  • use your words not actions

  • Speak in a friendly voice don’t shout

  • Respect one other and their belongings.

What causes conflict?
  • jealousy, different interests, temperament, personalities and age,

  • attention seeking, boredom, testing their limits or egocentrism,

  • lack of social or communication skills,

  • family upheavals, disputes or sickness.

And finally remember sibling rivalry is a part of family life but in the end blood is thicker than water. 

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Christine Jolly, Owner and Parent Coach

Hobart, Tasmania

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