NC State Extension Publications

 

When children see and hear their parents, grandparents and family friends arguing they become confused and emotional, and the outcome can often be either aggression or misbehavior. Then, the problem becomes about more than money.

Children can learn about problem-solving through moderate amounts of arguing, disagreement and heated conversation. Simple teasing and arguing may be common for families, but ongoing, unresolved conflict can be negative.

Argue Fairly

  • No name calling, hitting, slapping, threatening. These are harmful acts.

  • Do not put children in the middle by making them carry messages or blaming them.

  • Withdrawing never leads to an answer. It only models that you give up or tend to avoid paths that could lead to solutions.

The key is resolution. When children understand that the conflict has been worked out, the outcome is much better.

Model for Children to Make Decisions

  • Identify the issue at hand.

  • Brainstorm potential solutions.

  • Collect information about each solution to generate more options.

  • Weigh the options.

  • Select a solution to try.

  • Evaluate the effect of the choice.

How Can You Move Beyond Conflict to Resolution?

  • Stop — Breathe, realize what is happening, step back.
  • Think — Choose your battles, listen and really hear your partner’s concerns, don’t jump to conclusions, calmly respond.
  • Resolve — Make a list of choices, weigh the pros and cons, identify part of the task to work on together. Let children know if you even reach a partial resolution and assure children they are loved.
Tips on how to manage conflict
  • Children can learn about problem-solving through moderate amounts of arguing, disagreement and heated conversation.
  • The key is not to prevent all disagreement, but to reach a resolution.
  • Argue fairly. No name calling, hitting, slapping, threatening. These are harmful acts.
  • Do not put children in the middle.
  • Model healthy decision-making.
  • Stop, think, resolve.

Publication date: Sept. 1, 2009
Last updated: Sept. 29, 2017
FCS-529-10

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