Conflict.. just reading or saying that word out loud can cause you to feel icky. Not many people like conflict and will do what they can to avoid it, but is conflict really avoidable? Unfortunately, not. We come across conflict at home, school and work. We have conflicts with friends, family and that lady that didn’t use her blinker while you were driving through town. Conflict may be short or last a long time. It can be a little tense or SCARY even. But, conflict will eventually subside, much like a storm. And just like how we can be prepared for the worst of storms, we can also be prepared for future conflicts by having a toolbelt of conflict resolution skills.
The following art project can be a great way to process conflicts that are going on in your/yours child’s life. To do the art project, you will need a clear container of your choosing (a cup is ideal), water, shaving cream and food coloring.
First, fill the container about 3⁄4 full of water. Then you will spray a thin layer of shaving cream over the water. It will sit on top of the water. Then, drop a few drops of food coloring and enjoy the colorful storm-like display. In my opinion, the more colors you use, the more beautiful the “storm.”
Here are some tips for parents who would like to process a conflict with their child:
Validate the child's feelings concerning the conflict. All emotions are valid, even the ones we may not like to feel, such as sadness, jealousy, or anger.
Consider making a plan for when they face a conflict, such as: ignoring the other person, positioning themselves near a trusted adult or friend, taking a deep breath before reacting, or seeking help from an adult.
Discuss the importance of positive self-talk. Together, come up with a positive mantra or affirmation, such as "I got this. I can do it."
Remind your child that "we can only control ourselves, but we can make sure we are kind." Others may find it harder to be rude when we are kind. Either way, be sure to intentionally act in a way that you will be proud of later.
Discuss how to be strong, appropriately assertive, and stand up for yourself. It may be helpful to imagine something strong (such as a large tree with deep roots) before having a difficult conversation or using assertive words.
Teach the child how they can stand up for themselves in an appropriate way such as by speaking assertively (rather than passively or aggressively) or by using an “I” statement. For example, "I feel sad when you call me names."