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Parental Strategies for Helping Your Child Resolve Conflicts

June 25, 2017

One of the tenets of the Montessori philosophy of child development and education is to help children grow to be self-aware, socially responsible and respectful people.  That includes teaching emotional and social skills about how to communicate, collaborate, and get along well with others. Learning how to express emotions and resolve conflicts constructively is a valuable life skill that can benefit your child for years to come, both personally and professionally.

So how do we teach boys and girls to solve problems when conflicts arise, whether it be arguing, challenging each other, causing hurt feelings, not sharing toys, throwing a tantrum, breaking objects, or pushing or shoving?

Teaching a child self-discipline and how to settle disputes is an ongoing process that takes years of experience and positive reinforcement to help ensure collaborative, respectful outcomes.  The child’s mind needs to be open and wired for successful resolution of disagreements through seeing, feeling and experiencing the benefits of learning how to work out issues amicably.

How can parents help?

  • First, you can model calm, solutions-based behavior with your child and within your family. Your child will watch and learn from your behavior.
  • Instilling the philosophy of being kind and “doing the right thing” can make a big difference in learning how to interact with other people. Learning not to hurt or be mean to others is a step in the right direction.
  • When arguments arise, intercede by putting the children in a “quiet and peaceful” place so they can cool off and avoid escalating the situation.
  • Once calm, ask relevant, constructive questions to help the children identify the problem and its cause.
  • Be sure to listen attentively to each child’s understanding and perception of the issue, and how that makes them feel or affects their environment.
  • Encourage them to be open and thoughtful when expressing their thoughts and feelings in a non-defensive way. At this juncture, you can help them learn the difference between meanness and misunderstanding and the importance of being patient, respectful and thoughtful of other people’s feelings, viewpoints and actions.  Having empathy for others is a lifelong gift.
  • You can assist and guide children to find fair, peaceful solutions and compromises themselves.
  • By starting at a young age, children can learn to have compassion for others and take responsibility for their actions in order to live in harmony with others.
  • As part of the Apple Montessori Schools educational approach, we nurture children to think about and control their behavior independently, work to solve problems fairly, and act as peacekeepers with respect for themselves, others, and their environment.



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