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5 Steps to Managing Conflict: A Simple Guide to Conflict Resolution for Kids and Adults

Two teen girls in conflict

Let's explore a topic that's helpful for both parents working to break generational cycles and teachers eager to bring Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) into their classrooms: how to face conflict.

Understanding Conflict

Let’s first figure out what conflict means. It's when people have different opinions and ideas, causing a bit of a roadblock. It's not the same as bullying, where one person is overpowering another.

Conflict happens in every relationship, but it does not have to ruin the relationship. Kids can have conflict with their parents, siblings, and friends; adults can have conflict with their partners, coworkers, and with businesses. If you have ever disagreed with anyone, you most likely have experienced conflict.

There are some things you can do to minimize the impact conflict has on your relationship. Let's look at five simple steps to resolving conflict.

Five Steps to Resolve Conflict

Here are five simple steps to navigate through conflicts effectively:

Step 1 - Stay calm.

Handling problems when emotions are high can be tough. Children can be taught to take a deep breath and seek a moment of peace, either by finding a quiet space, practicing deep breathing, or doing a bit of mindfulness practice.

Step 2 - Discuss the issue.

It's really important to communicate openly. Kids can be taught to express their feelings using "I" statements, like "I feel upset because..." This approach encourages understanding without making someone feel like they're being attacked.

Step 3 - Understand the other perspective.

Active listening plays a crucial role here. It's not about agreeing right away; it's about trying to see where the other person is coming from so that everyone can find common ground.

Step 4 - Brainstorm fair solutions.

Collaboration is important when it comes to problem-solving. Encourage children to think of solutions that are fair to everyone involved. It could mean sharing, taking turns, or creating an entirely new plan. The goal is equality and mutual satisfaction.

Step 5 - Try out the solution.

Implement the agreed-upon solution and assess how it works. If any roadblocks get in the way, it's okay to ask for help. Flexibility in trying different approaches is important until everyone is comfortable with the solution and the conflict is resolved.

The Role of Parents and Educators

Teaching children these conflict resolution steps empowers them with skills to handle disputes in a healthy manner and grow from them. For teachers, incorporating these steps into everyday classroom activities reinforces SEL, providing students with tools to navigate conflicts constructively.


Conflicts are just another part of life, and with the right attitude, resolving them can be simple. Following these five tips teaches children how to handle disagreements with empathy and understanding, preparing them for better relationships in the future.

Remember, with every conflict comes an opportunity for growth. As parents and educators, guiding kids through these moments with kindness and wisdom is crucial to their development.

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