You’ve been proactive and instead of making the mistake of letting your kids work out conflicts on their own, you’ve actually taught them useful conflict resolution skills. Since it’s easier for your kids to practice using them when they aren’t upset, what are some fun ways to encourage them to practice their skills so they will use them naturally in a real conflict?
Here are some of our favorites.
- Mock trials. Whether it’s a person in the Bible or a fairy tale character, mock trials can be a fun way to practice taking turns and stating two sides of an argument clearly and calmly.
- Board games. Some games naturally cause more disagreements than others. Look for ones that involve a lot of judgment calls to determine who gets points, etc. When disagreements do occur, make sure to stop play long enough to practice one or more of the conflict resolution skills they are learning.
- Debates. While debates are a bit more formal than the average conflict between family members or friends, learning some debate skills can help them practice controlling emotions and making the best points to convince others they are correct. Try fun topics that will engage your kids…perhaps regarding a special interest or passion they share.
- Reading or telling stories. The Bible is full of stories of people in conflict. There are also plenty of children’s stories that involve some sort of conflict. As you are reading or telling the story, stop periodically and ask your kids what one of the people should do next to help resolve the conflict. Or have them point out when someone in the story uses poor conflict resolution skills.
- Have them teach you. Yes, you were the ones who taught them the skills initially. Call your kids, however, when you and your spouse can’t agree on something. Whether it’s what to have for dinner or what color to paint the den, have them tell you what each of you should do next to avoid getting into an actual argument about it.
Have some fun with it, but give your kids as much practice as possible using their conflict resolution skills. Then when they need them in real life, they will remember them and feel confident using them.
For more information on teaching your kids godly conflict resolution skills, we have a free printable parenting sheet on the topic.