Frequent Questions and Concerns about Resolving Conflicts
Are conflicts ever helpful?
Yes. Researchers have found that avoidance isn’t a good method of resolving conflict and that managing conflict well is a valuable skill.1 When young people learn how to resolve conflicts peacefully, they develop higher-quality decision-making skills, a greater sense of caring, more motivation to act, and better creative problem-solving skills.2
Why do my kids create so many conflicts?
The process of growing up involves learning about oneself, getting to know others, and figuring out what family boundaries are. Toddlers and teenagers are notorious for creating a lot of conflict and tension in the family as they become more independent. Figure out which conflicts are important to work through and which ones you can let go of. For example, it’s not as important to create a conflict if your teenager wants to dye her hair purple as it would be if she started drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or experimenting with drugs.
Do schools address conflict resolution?
Many schools have instituted conflict resolution programs. The four most popular include peer mediation, process curriculum, peaceable classroom, and peaceable school.3 Find out from your school how it teaches and handles conflict resolution. In addition, find out whether or not your state has laws against bullying at www.stopbullyingnow.com.
1. Morton Deutsch, The Resolution of Conflict: Constructive and Destructive Processes, second edition (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1977).
2. Morton Deutsch, The Resolution of Conflict: Constructive and Destructive Processes, second edition (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1977), David Johnson and Frank Johnson, Joining Together: Group Theory and Group Skills, tenth edition (Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2008), David Johnson and Roger Johnson, Teaching Students to Be Peacemakers, fourth edition, (Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company, 2005).
3. American Academy of Pediatrics, Caring for Your Teenager, (New York: Bantam, 2003), 322.