Did you know that creativity plays a big part in resolving conflict? Whenever your kids are together there is the possibility that conflict will arise. Lets face it, kids don't always see “eye to eye” because their desires, aims and goals don't always match in the moment. Conflict may not only occur between your kids, however but other kids may be involved as well. As parents we need to show our kids that creativity can be used to resolve conflict.
For most of us the concept of conflict is negative. In the same way that “mistakes” are seen as negative, conflict is also seen in this way. It is right at this point of understanding however that breakthroughs can be made, after all, life, for all of us is about learning, and just as we can absolutely learn from our mistakes, we can also learn through our experience of conflict.
Be a creative mediator
As a parent it’s up to you to be the mediator. This is definitely a creative position. This requires that you listen. What important point has not been mentioned? Be present. Because your kids will have closed minds when in conflict you need to have an open mind. This means not taking sides and imagining as many different perspectives on the situation as you can. You need to show your kids first that the perfect outcome to their conflict can initially be reached through their imagination.
How do you teach kids to organize their desires, aims and goals if they don't match in the moment? Just keep them talking. Watch over them and keep their emotion in check, then teach them how to negotiate creatively.
By understanding that dealing with strong emotions can be frightening for young children we can be more supportive as a parent. There is also the opportunity to display empathy towards the other. Children can be made aware that everything we say and do is a choice. We need to be ready and conscious of taking the opportunity to be creative when conflict between our kids arises. When parents view conflict in this way they can then direct their children towards the art of creative negotiation.
Creative conflict resolution should engage us, and our children, to continually use our problem solving skills, with each opportunity helping us to negotiate a little better than last time.
Teach them the art of creative negotiation.
Negotiation is an incredibly useful skill in adult life, so not only will you be resolving this conflict you will be solving future conflicts and setting your children up to be successful and competent adults. Building your children’s negotiating skills one conflict at a time is worth the effort and patience it takes.
If the conflict can be resolved at a later time tell your kids that you will set time aside to do it. Just doing this can calm kids down. When you are ready take them to a pleasant environment to talk about it. (Think family restaurant/ice cream etc) Use your intuition to move forward and get your kids to share as much information as they can.
Just remember that you want talking , not shouting. The difference is subtle but the result is hugely different. By giving your children the negotiation scaffolding or structure to build a different outcome you are giving your kids the power of choice.
Without this choice conflict is bound to keep re occurring again and again until someone ends up getting repeatedly hurt.