Helping Kids Resolve Conflict

By: Behaviorally Speaking

Elementary student ignoring her friend during an conflict in the classroom.

About this Podcast Episode

On this episode, Angela and Kristin talk about the importance of teaching kids conflict resolution skills. They suggest the prerequisite skills, teaching approaches, and a variety of strategies such as active listening, accepting feedback, taking ownership when you’re wrong, making a sincere apology, finding common ground, among others.

About the Hosts

Angela Nelson, Ed.D., BCBA, and Kristin Bandi, MA, BCBA, are Board Certified Behavior Analysts with expertise on human behavior and child development. They spend their days working with parents and caregivers of both typically developing children as well as children with learning, social, and behavioral challenges, or developmental disabilities. This podcast is brought to you by RethinkCare

If you need support as a parent or caregiver of a child, we encourage you to ask your Human Resources team if RethinkCare is a part of your employer-provided benefits.  RethinkCare reaches millions of lives globally through partnerships with top organizations and Fortune 1,000 companies.


Angie Nelson: Hello and welcome to our 31st episode of Behaviorally Speaking. I’m one of your hosts Angela Nelson, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and mother of two.    

Kristin Bandi: And I’m Kristen Bandi also a board-certified behavior analyst and mother of three. Hey Angie, I feel like you can’t even start it this way I need to come up with a new “Angie, how are you?”

Angie: I know, I know after 31 times of this. We’re going to mix it up.

Kristin: I know, I know how are you are you surviving the cold front? I need to know.  

Angie: Oh yes, 50 degrees in Los Angeles yeah we are basically icicles over here. So, we’re just yeah no it’s actually fun I was just talking to my sister-in law we’re going to get rain again this weekend we’re going over there to watch a play like a winter play and then we’re Going to do dinner and stuff and it’s gonna rain and we’re like oh my gosh. It’s gonna rain. It’s gonna be so cozy and you know we’re just like trying to enjoy every ounce of rain and coziness. So, because you know it’s very rare for us.

Kristin: Right, do you guys have fireplaces?

Angie: Um, yea we have fireplaces.

Kristin: Is that a weird question? So like I now I live in Florida obviously and people that come to visit me are like, “why do you have a fireplace in your house?” it’s always so hot here and so people are baffled by it and I don’t know I feel like it’s quite normal to have a fireplace.     

Angie: you know I think if your home is built after a certain year. Don’t quote me on this I think you can’t burn wood in your fireplace or some there’s some rule about that.

Kristin: Ah interesting.  

Angie: But um yeah we don’t we never use our fireplace. It’s just kind of more for You know display.

Kristin: Um, right It’s just to look pretty and to decorate your mantle right?

Angie: Yeah but yes to hang stockings on it. But yes we do we do fireplaces do exist in California believe it or not. 

Kristin: Exactly, OK good to know.     

Angie: Yes yes, well should we get into it our topic today.

Kristin: Yeah let’s do it. This is a good one I’m really excited for this one today.    

Angie: Yeah so today we are talking about kind of diving more into relationships and friendships for our kids and specifically around resolving conflict which is something that you cannot avoid. It is definitely something that everybody comes into contact with when they’re kids and continuing into adulthood, so you know what is this? it’s kind of it’s basically when I was doing my research. It’s kind of boiling down to a challenge to the way someone acts or thinks right? it’s. It’s ah it could be a physical conflict. Sometimes we see that more with kids’ um verbal conflict people are not agreeing. They don’t like what you’re doing or what you’re saying and so on and you know this is something that you cannot ignore this is a skill that we oftentimes have to teach somewhat systematically or explicitly for our kids. It definitely will impact our relationships when we get older, and it is a social skill that that we have to learn so you know one of the things we’ll talk about today too is teaching negotiation skills teaching compromise. And these are really those lifelong skills that are worth diving into with our kids.   

Kristin: Yeah it’s so important and it’s really important to mention that we have to teach the skills because eventually at some point you’re going to be faced with conflict right? And I feel like as parents with really young kids it’s so easy to try to solve all the problems and resolve all the conflicts but at some point that comes to a head and you’re like “wait a second oh no my kids need to learn how to do this for themselves” and so I think this is a really important topic for us.

Prerequisites for Children to Resolve Conflicts

Kristin: Before we get into the tips we wanted to talk a little bit about some prerequisites to conflict resolution. So. Like I just mentioned we can’t just expect kids to resolve it right? So, “hey go fix that go resolve that conflict with your sibling. Go, go go.” and a lot of times we want that to happen, but we definitely have to teach some things first.


Kristin: So, one of those being emotions right? So, in order to properly resolve conflict, you have to understand your own emotions. So, we’ll get into that one in a little bit. We also want to help kids understand how to advocate for themselves right? So not just being able to just give in each time, but maybe saying “Hey I didn’t really like that, or I didn’t like the way you said that to me or I get a turn too”.

Coping Strategies

Kristin: Then of course coping strategies which this one we I think we’ve done a podcast on emotional regulation I’m sure. But definitely when we’re thinking about resolving conflicts. You have to be able to cope and understand how to deal with that internal feeling when you’re having a conflict with somebody. All really important things that you have to work on before we can expect our kids just to resolve conflicts. Yes yes.

Angie: Yeah Definitely, with what you’ve said too I want to just mention you said something a little earlier that you know peaked to my interest and I think would for a lot of families too which is you can’t just always jump in and solve the conflicts for your kids right? You have to make sure they have the prerequisite skills to teach them help them practice and then have them start doing it because this day and age we have we have this society of a lot of helicopter families helicopter parents way more than back when we were kids in like the 80 s you know? So, I think this is something for parents to take note of it’s something we want to teach and then we fade it back and let them handle it.

Kristin: Yes, yea exactly. So, when we want to teach these prerequisites. There’s a few ways that we can do that so again before we get into understanding the strategies here. We want to get arm you with some ways to teach those prerequisites and my favorite thing to recommend to families is books so there’s all kinds of storybooks that talk about conflict resolution of course talk about emotions and ways to advocate for yourself and definitely coping strategies so you can lean on books and then of course there’s TV ,there’s role-play, so you can I usually coach families on role-playing it out with maybe even your stuffed animals or your cars or something that you have around that we can practice some of these things. This leads into the next one which will be practice right? So, let’s learn how to do it. Let’s practice doing it.         

Model Empathy

Kristin: And then something related here is to model empathy which I think can go a really long Way. So, we’re talking about conflict resolution. Obviously we want to model that but it can be really helpful to model empathy so that your child can then learn that skill so you could say something like “It sounds like you’re having a hard time with your friend today. I can see you’re frustrated, tell me more about that.” you know and that’s a really good way to just start teaching understanding their emotions and helping them get to the bottom of it so they can cope and advocate for themselves.           

Angie: Yeah now I love that definitely I feel like we integrate modeling into every one of our podcasts so important. Yeah.         

Kristin: Um yes I think so I’m pretty sure we have it um later on the podcast too. We’re talking about modeling because it’s really important your kids are always watching you always. Even you think they’re not they’re watching.       

Angie: Yeah I feel like we should do a podcast on just modeling like all the different ways to do it?

Kristin: Yes yeah it’s a good idea.         

1) Teach Children to Genuinely Apologize

Angie: Yeah well so moving on and kind of building off of that the prerequisites and general ways to teach. Let’s dive into some of our strategies around addressing conflict resolution. So, the first one is teaching our kids to say I’m sorry this is a one. Yeah I would say this is also one that we want to think about modeling for two I think it was a recent podcast where I mentioned this I know I talk to parents about this a lot which is sometimes parents feel like if they are saying they’re sorry to kids that their kids will lose respect for them, or it will appear like they’re on the same level and so on but it’s actually quite the opposite. It’s teaching respect. It’s teaching that they can be humble. We can say our so we are sorry and that actually goes an apology goes a long way and it can help to definitely diffuse a conflict situation. So, you know like you were mentioning before modeling getting into teachable opportunities thinking about ways that you can do role-plays so teaching our kids how to do an apology how what? an ah appropriate kind of genuine apology actually looks like and we can pick out books and TV where we’ve observed conflict occurring so that they can get some additional models and in different contexts and see what that looks like and I know that some families will also help their kids write an apology. Sometimes that’s a little bit more comfortable. It can be hard to put yourself out there and be a little vulnerable and say you know what? yeah I messed up sorry that was that was my fault. My bad. So maybe practicing an apology in writing might be good. Um and making sure to include the how can we make this right? or how can I make this right situation. That’s part of a genuine apology. It’s not just what’s the you know kind of stereotypical block apology like I’m sorry you’re failing this. You know that’s not really gonna do much so thinking about ways to teach I’m sorry what? that really means how to be genuine what that looks like can be a good way to bulk up you.     

Kristin: Oh, I love this, and I was just thinking back to just I don’t know everyone has pet thieves right? And one of mine is when someone gives like just kind of a oh an apology like that like I’m sorry I hurt your feelings were hurt like wait a second are you, because it doesn’t sound like it.

Angie: Conflict resolution skills.      

Kristin: So, I think it’s so good and I think kids can almost do that naturally and not and not intentionally right like well I’m sorry your feelings were hurt. It’s like well wait a second what happened to hurt those feelings and you know what can we do better next time. So, I think there’s a lot of teaching moments that might happen there if your kids do respond that way. So, I love that one I think it’s so important. Yeah so moving on to the next one. So, we of course want to help our kids apologize when they need to, but we also want to help kids’ ah stand up for themselves and express their feelings and emotions and really just resolve a conflict in a more productive way rather than whatever they might want to do right? run off yell at somebody.         

2) Help Kids Stand Up for Themselves with S.N.E.S. (State behavior, Name feeling, Explain feeling, State desired outcome)

Angie: Right? Yeah totally yeah.           

Kristin: So, this one not really an acronym but you could call it that because there’s four parts to it, but the letters are S.N.E.S.

Angie: Sneeze.

Kristin: There you go, everyone’s going to remember that now, sneeze. Um so the first is state the behavior and then you want to Name your feeling and of course this is where those prerequisites are going to come in because well you have to know the feeling. What are you feeling in that moment and then Explain your feeling and then State what you would like to happen. So this is something that you can teach your kids when these conflicts arise so we could write out S.N.E.S. and then write it out for them and then help them use “I” statements because as we know the you statement, or you did this, or you did that, or you must be this or you must be that can come off really accusatory. So, the other person’s probably going to be on the defense, so we want to help our kids with that. So, an example might be “You borrowed my lipstick without asking”, which would be the behavior right? and then “that made me feel angry because you didn’t ask my permission.” That’s the feeling and why you feel that way and then “I would like if you asked me next time before you take it” and that would be stating what you would like to have happen next time instead of saying like you know how could you say that in a non I statement like “Don’t ever take my stick again you thief how dare you?” yeah.        

Angie: Yeah, yeah.        

Kristin: Ah exactly So obviously this is a situation that takes practice but especially with young kids We might be able to write out that acronym and then help them when they reach a conflict say Okay well let’s use the S.N.E.S. acronym Um and what could we do here.

Angie: Yeah definitely I can use that with my own kids they must have gotten this word from a movie but my younger daughter the other day told my older daughter “You are a crook you took my stuff you’re crook.”         

Kristin: Oh wow.

Angie: Like okay where what you know old fashioned movies. Are you watching? So yeah so no I like that one.

Kristin: I know right? a crook. Okay it’s funny.      

3) Teaching Children to Find Common Ground with Others to Resolve Conflict

Angie: Um okay so going on to our next one I when we were doing our research I really like this one and I think this is a such a valuable skill for kids talking about finding and teaching our kids to find common ground so going beyond that it’s how can we teach our kids to practice brainstorming solutions together to get to a place I think at this age kids are so rooted in kind of there into justice right? No, I’m right you’re wrong. This is the way it goes. It’s very kind of cut and dry. But this is one of those skills that’s going to be helpful for adulthood. How can we find some sort of compromise in a way. So yeah so one of the kind of I guess concrete solutions or strategies would be helping our kids make a color-coded list of solutions from their perspective. So, they’ve got one color for their perspective and then they put their peers perspective in another color and you can kind of just make this up. You can. Practice at argument or something and you’ve got your position and they have theirs, so they lay them Out. Theirs is maybe blue and yours is green or something like that and then have them tell the story from the other person’s perspective. So, it’s kind of like there. Doing a perspective taking exercise they’re stepping into their friends’ shoes and they’re arguing that point of view I liked this because this reminds me of my old um kind of internship counseling internship days where you do those sort of like empty chair strategies and you argue the you know the whoever you’re upset with their side and it’s a really effective strategy for empathy taking and kind of just seeing the bigger picture and getting out of your own kind of you know head and that can really help to find some common ground where you’re arguing their perspective.  

Kristin: Right.                                                    

Angie: Not so much that you agree with it, but you can kind of start to see like okay yeah I can pick out that I agree with this part. So yeah.                                                 

Kristin: Yeah oh I love this, and this is you know when we were doing this research I was thinking okay not only are our parents going to find this valuable with their kids. But I think this is helpful in any interpersonal relationship. You have right? like yes.                                  

Angie: Yes like partner or a spouse or.                                   

Kristin: Yeah I’m sitting here imagining like meaning I need to start trying this by over here I think it might be really helpful. So yeah um I love that one I think it’s great for all ages too so, I think it’s a really valuable skill.                     

Angie: Yeah. Yeah yes.                                  

4) Teaching Kids to be Flexible

Kristin: So, the next one is probably very closely related and might take a deeper dive into why it’s important to find the common ground and how we can do that. So as Angie had mentioned a lot of kids might be in that “my way or the highway approach” right and so there is a challenge here with being flexible. So, we want to teach our kids how to be flexible within a conflict and of course this is going to be really important because if they’re able to be flexible then it’s going to ease the tension and really make that conversation be more productive versus “my way” or “that’s it” right it’s not going to end here. So, I think it’s really important that we want to teach the other perspective and one way that you could do that which I think might be a nice steppingstone here for families is to ask your kids or your teens if they’ve ever been in a conflict with someone who wasn’t flexible right? So almost putting them in that situation and then saying well how did it make you feel when you were trying to work with this person who just wouldn’t budge at all and really help them see it and visualize it and then say well and did you want to work with that person again or did you want to resolve and try to resolve another conflict with that person again or they’re likely the answer is probably going to be no right? And why is that and really I think sometimes again taking that other perspective if they put themselves in the shoes of the other person who might be who might have been battling them then it might be helpful, so I think that’s a really great way to teach how to be flexible within that conversation.                  

Angie: Yeah I love that I mean the perspective taking is such a valuable skill for kids and adults. Let’s be honest you know

Kristin: Um yeah exactly yep.

Angie: No one wants to think that they’re position isn’t the right one or they you know I think a lot of times kids just don’t It’s not really in their vocabulary to consider that maybe um they are being the ones that are sticking the stake in the ground and not budging you know and it’s hard for them to see those different things. So, it’s a great way to kind of I guess pan out and help them see things from different perspective. Yeah flexibility. So important.                            

Kristin: Right? Yes yeah.              

5) Teaching Children to use Active Listening

Angie: Yeah okay so moving on to the next one. This also kind of goes into a fairly common kind of like counseling strategy that anybody can use and it’s active listening so active listening really is more than just hearing the words that the person is saying but also hearing the message like getting the gist of what are they saying you don’t have to agree active listening does not mean that you’re agreeing but you are showing that you’re listening, and it might be.

Angie: Helping kids do things like nodding their head or saying a huh you know having some sort of acknowledgement that they are actually listening to the person not just thinking about their rebuttal in their mind. You know we all have done this, but that doesn’t result in you know some success when you’re in a conflict. Um and then if you could go some kids are able to do this this next step of reflecting back What they heard so I try to do this actually in in our home and sometimes I know from my perspective if I am having an argument with my husband. For example, it’s not so much that I want to be right? I Just want to be heard I Just want him to understand what I’m saying, and I think that that that happens quite a bit is I just want to be understood. You know. So, if you reflect back like I heard you say this is that right is this what I’m understanding that that you’re feeling is you want XY and Z or you don’t think it’s fair because of x y and z and then you can oftentimes automatically just see the other person relax a little bit like yes that’s what I’m saying good. You get it you understand and that can really help to diffuse the conflict. You may not agree but it definitely helps to take it down a notch when you can see the other person’s perspective and then you’re kind of disarmed a little bit and they are too so you can more easily get to maybe a negotiation.                                                

Kristin: Yeah this one’s so important and I think it goes for kids too like us as adults of course want to be heard but kids do too, and I think a lot of times kids might feel shut down if we don’t actively listen to them right? and so it’s like oh you never hear me you never listen to me and that’s something that I think a lot of kids express to their parents. So definitely actively listening with your children for sure and then I think the other side of this too is sometimes you or your child if you’re trying to teach them to actively listen. They may reflect back and it’s wrong right? So, it’s like “what I’m hearing is this” and then they’re like “no that’s not at all it”. Right? I feel like that’s a really good way to really make sure that you’re understanding the conflict because you could be hearing it totally wrong.                

Angie: Um yeah oh right um that’s such a good point because tone and you know or you’re just you’re putting your own spin on it and they’re like “no that is not at all correct” and then you could completely get rid of the conflict right then and there because it was just a miscommunication.

6) How to Teach Kids to take Constructive Criticism

Kristin: Also, exactly yeah so important? Yes yeah so the next one here kind of pushing us through resolving those conflicts. There are other barriers that come into play sometimes for kids when they’re trying to resolve conflicts. And receiving feedback can be one of those so sometimes somebody might give you some feedback that you’re not really wanting to take right and so I get this question a lot from parents who say you know I’m trying to give my child some constructive criticism here. But I am finding that anytime I try to get in or I critique or the teacher points something out. They have a big meltdown. They get really upset and then in this situation. What ends up happening is parents actually don’t do that then right? So, then they’re like wait hold on I’m not going to give any feedback I’m not going to give any constructive criticism here because I’m too afraid of how my child might respond. But yeah right? But the challenge here is then your child is not learning how to take that criticism appropriately.

Angie: Um, yeah the blowback.                  

Kristin: So then maybe if a peer or a friend or a sibling or a teacher gives them criticism in certain areas. They don’t know how to respond because they haven’t practiced it. So, this one’s super important and when I was looking this up it. It goes back to which we’ve talked about before on another podcast is growth mindset. So, if your child can have that growth mindset like yes I can learn I can improve versus that fixed mindset. Then they’re actually going to be able to take that constructive criticism and then they’ll say oh yes I get it. That’s great. Thank you for that and they’re going to firmly believe that it’s going to make them better and stronger and smarter depending on the situation. So, I think that it could be really helpful to start teaching growth mindset if we want to help our kids resolve conflicts. 

Angie: Yeah I love that that’s great I mean I think that’s another skill that we don’t inherently think about as parents. How do we teach receiving feedback. It’s such an important thing to do and you can recognize it when people like we have you know people on our team that are so great at taking feedback. They’re so receptive and I’m just like Wow that but I’m so impressed by that person, and I wonder about that. How did that person. How did that person came to you know how did they come to be this way you know and, but you don’t really think about going through those motions when you’re a parent teaching your kids. So yeah it’s a great reminder.

7) Teaching Children to Take Ownership

Angie: Yeah so the next one we’ve just got a couple more um this next one is teaching our kids to take ownership and I mentioned it before you know it could be as simple as teaching kids and maybe teenagers saying something like ah my bad you know or acknowledging when you’re when you’re incorrect or you made a mistake. Um that’s a lesson in humility and people like to say face people don’t want to look wrong or in yeah in the wrong. But when you think about it if me on the other side if someone takes ownership I have so much more respect for that person. You know we all know that that person that always makes excuses. It’s never their fault and that’s just frustrating right? They can never be. You know you can never be wrong so teaching ownership and helping kids’ kind of get past some maybe some embarrassment to hey you’re going to be respected. This is actually going to be a great life skill when you’re older people do appreciate it when you take ownership I mean we do this at work all the time. Oh, that you know what sorry I dropped the ball I’m going to make it better. You totally respect that person more and then you can move forward because every with you know? Yeah so it’s one of those great skills to start early and teach we know it’s hard, but we can model it ourselves as parents too.                                    

Kristin: Yeah this is one that I think what’s closely related here is teaching your child that failure is okay because a lot of times I hear parents telling me like my child has a hard time taking ownership but maybe deep down it’s because they don’t like you said they don’t want to admit that they’re wrong but there’s deeper feelings there. So, it’s when I feel like I do did something wrong then I feel like a failure and then that turns into I don’t want to fail, and you know all of that. So really going back into that growth mindset. But I think that if your child has trouble taking ownership we have to figure out why is that so do a little bit of a deeper dive there and try to figure out what’s going on and why they really do have a hard time admitting that they’re wrong or that they made a mistake.

Angie: Yeah that’s a good point. Yeah definitely.               

8) Resolving Competitive Conflicts in Games and Sports with Kids

Kristin: Yeah which I think leads exact right into the next one because I think this one comes down to the failure as well and difficulty with that and overly competitive. Maybe but we have want to talk a little bit about resolving conflict within games or sports because it’s a little bit. It’s of course related. But now we’re talking about you know some of those social interactions that come into your life all the time but a lot of kids will get so frustrated during games or sports that they avoid it altogether or their peers avoid them because they actually are no fun to play with, So this is one that you definitely want to work on with your children if they just have a hard time admitting or accepting defeat. Really you know if they can’t lose a game well or they ah you know kind of yell at their teenager because they made a mistake. So, with this we really probably need to take some of this into but into that situation. Whatever that situation looks like and practice it right? So, if you could envision with your child. You’re on the baseball field and here you know this happens your play your teammate throws it to the wrong person and then you guys get out. How do you handle that right? and so maybe a little bit of practice and role-play that with your child, and you could even so if we’re talking about board games. Another example might be having your child team up with somebody who does well in this area so that they could serve as a role model. So, I’m kind of envisioning like the family game and everybody is playing together and then there’s one child who’s like “this is the worst!” you know and they like flip the board game and everybody’s like ah you know so maybe to diffuse that situation. We team up that child with one of the parents who does really well in this area or even a sibling that does really well and then they could be teammates so they can maybe they lose but then they’ve got somebody else to kind of bounce that off of and lose with if you will. So yeah.                                                             

Angie: Yeah I love that it’s happened so often you know just kids and teens even adults you get really passionate about it or really competitive and that’s there’s nothing wrong with that. But when you get so frustrated that you know it turns into conflict That’s where it’s problematic I actually had a client ah a parent that I met with a couple weeks ago and they had a kind of a preteen boy, and he was playing baseball. They actually filmed it, and he did. He got so upset when one of his teammates messed up and he was yelling at them, and the parent showed him the video afterwards and he was really embarrassed. He’s like “I had no idea that I looked like this. This is not, this is not good” so that kind of video self-modeling I think was effective for him.                                

Kristin: Um oh yeah yes definitely I think it is like you take a step back when you when you’re watching a video of yourself. Of course, you know that’s you right? But it’s almost like you’re watching a movie so you’re like wait a second what I if I were you know watching another character behave this way. What would I think of them right? And so, then you’re like and that’s you. So, I really think that’s a could be a really effective strategy for a lot of kids and teens.                                                

9) Fist to Five Strategy

Angie: Um right? Yeah definitely well. So, this one is a little bit different this strategy that we found, and this is great for teens too where I think we’re going to kind of get into a last couple are going to be for teens. This is about reaching consensus. So it’s the Fist to Five strategy and we actually have this on our ah in our program. So, what you can do is let’s say you’re having a conversation. It could be something like hey we’re going to go on a trip this summer let’s talk about let’s come to some sort of compromise or let’s see if we can get to a consensus on where we’re going to go, and you basically have a code where if the person puts up their fist it means they don’t support the idea if they and they’re blocking it if they put up one finger it means no support but they’re not blocking it. Two fingers are they have some concerns you know kind of a little bit more neutral. Ah three ah sorry so some concerns are two, three fingers is neutral. You put up four fingers I’ve got you know I’m given you solid support and five fingers is full on support. So, this is a way to maybe not use our words just use some sort of body language. Everybody can look around to see where we are kind of where we’re leaning and it’s just a different so ah strategy something to try something unique to help kind of practice consensus and kind of also check in with ourselves. Be a little introspective on okay where do I land on this particular topic and it’s not an all or nothing kind of cut or dry thing. It’s not “nope hate the idea” or “yep love it” It’s like we can see there’s some gradation there.    

Kristin: Um yeah I love this, and I feel like this would work so well in big families because in big families. You have all different kinds of perspectives you have all different kinds of ages and I feel like I get parents all the time who say like I just can’t please everyone right? and it’s like yeah you can’t like there’s no way to please everyone. So, I feel like this is such a good strategy to see where everybody stands on something. Whatever it might be and then coming to some sort of common ground. So yeah this one’s super helpful.                                             

10) Helping Teens and Preteens Resolve Conflicts

Kristin: Alright yeah so moving on to the our last one here and still for teens. But I think as kids approach teenager and even preteens We can start working with them on their history of conflict resolution I think it’s really important for them to understand what’s worked for me. What didn’t work for me and that way moving forward we can come up with better strategies to resolve conflicts and so I think with kids and teens we can do exactly that we could say hey let’s write this out. Let’s you know I’m noticing. You’re having a little bit more conflict in school recently with your peers or I’m seeing more conflict with that one teacher than we used to so let’s write this out and say how does conflict resolution usually work for you. How has it worked in the past. What do you normally do when you get into a conflict right? And your team might say well normally I walk away and I come back to it and that helps or I’m the kind of person that I really need to tackle it right away and my teacher is not like that and so I think just coming at it from an understanding and of yourself your own perspective. How do you resolve conflicts as a teenager can really help them resolve conflicts going forward.                                                    

Angie: Um yeah no I love it I Love it. It’s a good time I mean it’s a good reflection point. You know when have you seen a time or when has there been a time where things actually went Well you know and those reminders of like don’t go below the belt. You know like you? What are some things that are just not going to get you anywhere you know? So yeah it’s good to reflect on that.                               

Kristin: Oh yeah exactly because it’s you could say if your child come, or your teen comes to you with a certain conflict. You could easily say and how did you? how’d you would You do you know and your teens like well I told them to you know shoot it right? And then you’re like Well how’d that work for you. You know so, it definitely could be some trial and error there but helping your teens figure out like what’s the best way for me to resolve conflicts with my peers That’s actually going to be productive and maybe not hurt. Someone’s feelings in the in the process right? Yeah exactly.                                    

Angie: Right? Yeah they can be proud of afterwards and not feel guilty.

Kristin: Yea exactly.


Angie: Yeah all right should we do a quick recap?

Kristin: Okay yeah let’s do it all right.                      

Angie: Let’s see yeah so getting into oh I think you’re first yeah with pre-reqs.

Kristin: Yeah so we definitely want to make sure that we teach the pre-reqs first so thinking about teaching emotions and advocating for yourself or teaching your kids to advocate for themselves and definitely coping strategies using books and TV and practicing and really modeling these behaviors.   

Angie: Yes definitely next one teaching how to say I’m sorry in a genuine way. So definitely important we want to if we’re resolving conflict. We want the other person listener to know that we actually mean it if we did something wrong.                                 

Kristin: Yes and then don’t forget about the S.N.E.S. teach your kids to State the behavior, name their feeling, explain why they feel that way, and then State what they would like to happen.                                

Angie: And then next one find common ground this is good to help kids brainstorm different solutions. You can have them color code a list of their perspective or their solutions and the other persons and have them actually role-play the other person’s perspective get in their shoes.

Kristin: And then of course teach kids How to be flexible so teach them to resolve a conflict it wait sorry one more time we try that and the next one teaches kids how to be flexible so it can help ease tension and keep that conversation productive.                                                             

Angie: Teaching active listening is another one so not just hearing the words that the person is saying while thinking about your rebuttal but actually listening and understanding the message and maybe even reflecting back that you heard what they said and that showing them that you are listening.

Kristin: And teach your kids to receive feedback or how to receive feedback during a conflict so you can do this by helping your kids develop a growth mindset.                                                      

Angie: Maybe with a head nod.                                                

Angie: Definitely. Next one is taking ownership. So, this one’s hard. We got to maybe model it a little bit as adults but just a simple hey you know what? that’s my bad I messed up acknowledge when you’re wrong. It’s a hard skill but definitely an important one for life.    

Kristin: Exactly and then the next one we want to help our kids resolve conflict within games so we see that conflicts happen quite often for many kids when they’re in the middle of a sporting event or they’re in the middle of playing a game so we definitely want to work on this with our kids with practice and modeling the right way to result. Gosh what is wrong with me today I was doing so good. Sorry oz okay I’m gonna keep this one short all right and the next one resolving conflict within games so teaching our kids to resolve conflict during sports and games.                                                                        

Angie: And getting down to the last couple here Fist to Five strategy so a strategy showing certain number of fingers based on how much you support or how little you support. Ah a particular idea. Just a great way to kind of reach consensus using body language without so much talking Kristen. You had a good point earlier. It’s great for big groups big families and so on.                  

Kristin: Yes and then the last one focusing more on teens helping your teens figure out how they manage conflict. How have they done it in the past did that work for them if not what they could do better moving forward.                                          

Angie: Yep all right? should we get into. We haven’t done this in a while because we’ve had some guests should we get into a real talk with real moms real quick before we wrap up.                                              

Kristin: I know yes, and I have got a really funny one. So. It’s a little bit related to conflict resolution. Although I mean it’s kind of like. My kids every day you know my older two are six and four so you can imagine the kinds of things that go on over here. Um but so this one happened yesterday. Actually, we so my kids each earn a little bit of TV time after they do the things they’re supposed to do right? so. My son finishes his homework and all that jazz and then he gets TV time when I go and pick up the two little kids, so he has his TV time I leave I go pick up the little two my husband’s home with him obviously and then I I get back and then my daughter who’s for she gets her TV time she doesn’t have homework release, so she gets her TV time just doing the right thing at school, so we get back and yesterday come in and I mean she comes in guns a blazing and she’s like actually let me not say that that’s not good I feel like that could be perceived ah on I like visualize it as I said it and I was like yeah we’re gonna okay all right I’m just OK my goodness girl. Okay so I’m just gonna start with and she comes in for you oz so we get home.

Angie: Um yeah that’s good. Good call out key.                                                                 

Kristin: And she comes in basically screaming at parker and she goes it’s my turn for the TV and she like runs full force in and I was like hold on and I stopped her, and I said wait a second and of course, you know we talked about before like not resolving all of our conflicts for our kids. But I think for little kids we do have to a little bit and model the appropriate. So, I said wait right here now. What could you do instead come in hey Parker How are you? how was your day right? and say now it is my turn for the TV right? So, we practiced that a little bit and she’s four so she was kind of like it’s my turn I’m like yeah I understand it’s your turn, but you can’t just come in yelling at him and expect him to just give you the remote you know so it was definitely a learning moment for them. But it’s just so interesting the differences in kids because no there was no need for her to come in yelling, but she just did just for fun. So funny all fired up.                 

Angie: Yeah I wonder if something happened at school that got her got her extra you know passionate. Yeah.                               

Kristin: No, you know I will say like if I were to look at this from just history I feel like he tends to hog the remote. He’s a remote hog and so I think if I were to say she just particularly for some reason thought I’m not going to get it by asking nicely. This time that I’m I’ve got I have to yell even though you know he’s pretty agreeable, but he definitely is like “I’ll find it for us sissy”. You know like he kind of just holds the remote even though they agree on the show. So maybe it’s that but it was just yes.                    

Angie: Oh, dear sibling thing. Ah yeah we’ve got rules around TV too like they each have a day they alternate days and if you don’t like the show then you can just you know go do something else but that. You know whoever’s day and it’s this constant like whose day is it who days it you know but if the other person it’s not their day, but they wake up earlier. Our rule is they can finish out their show that they’re watching like let’s say it’s Saturday morning cartoons or something. Um even if it’s the other child. Um but the younger one let’s say wakes up. Well, she does she always wakes up at the crack of dawn on the weekends of course trying to maximize that TV time. Um and let’s say it’s Lily’s turn to watch then she’s allowed to finish out the show and she you know Lily should not expect that just mid show. She’s just going to turn it off and start you know because it’s her day. So, there is We have a couple little rules in place like that that make things surround a little more smoothly.                                                          

Kristin: Um yeah that’s such a good one. It’s so important because it’s yeah it’s always stuck. You’re stuck in that like “Ah, but you picked last”, “No you didn’t, I picked last”, “No I didn’t, you picked last” and it’s so good if you have a really constructive way of doing it like okay this is your day you have Monday Wednesday Friday right? So, love that

Angie: Yeah, yeah oh just wait.  

Kristin: I feel like I’m learning so much from you because your kids are a couple years older so it’s like. And it’s funny I I’m like slowly getting into the things that you used to mention and talk about So I’m like oh right I’m already armed with strategies.

Angie: Yeah well your older two are the same age difference as mine. So, yea.

Kristin: Love it. Yes, yeah never a dull moment ever.

Angie: Definitely yeah.

Kristin: All right? Okay well that’ll do it for today. Thank you everyone for joining us on our 31st episode of behaviorally speaking. Our next episode we will discuss emotional intelligence in children and teens. Until then don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast on your favorite platform so you never miss an episode.

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