Teaching kids conflict resolution

Child Psychologist Pamela Varady, PsyD, shares advice for parents on the best methods for teaching conflict resolution to kids
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Teaching kids conflict resolution

The way you teach your children conflict resolution is actually quite simple. You don't teach them conflict resolution when they are in the middle of a conflict. That's when everybody's emotions are high and they flip their lid. They literally flip their lid. That's why we have that expression. That's not a good time to teach them conflict resolution. We teach them conflict resolution as if it's a game or fun activity, at a time where kids are actually getting along or everything is just copacetic. Say to the children, "We are going to learn a new game." You sit them in chairs. They should be cozy and comfortable. You tell the children, "Let's pretend that you are fighting over something. Let's figure out how we can work this out." Through practice, you help them work it out. You narrate what one kid feels, and narrate what the other one feels. Then you throw out, "Wow, we have two children and only one item, what are we going to do?" Because it is a game, and children want to win, they will try to figure out the most creative solutions. One of the things they could say is, "Let's take turns. You can have it first," or "Let's play store, and you'll be the salesman." This is the way you teach conflict resolution. Then when it happens in real life, you can say, "Peace chairs, guys." They know that there is going to be a smart mom or dad there, who is going to narrate everybody's needs; and it's going to be settled in a fair way.

Child Psychologist Pamela Varady, PsyD, shares advice for parents on the best methods for teaching conflict resolution to kids


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Pamela Varady, PsyD


Dr. Pamela Varady is a Child and Adult Psychologist and sought-after parenting expert. She has appeared as a relationship expert on NBC, Discovery Health Network, The Today Show and Fox TV.  Dr. Varady wrote a workbook, 15 Minutes To Sibling Harmony and conducts seminars and Purposeful Parenting Classes throughout Southern California. In addition, Dr. Varady operates Dynamic Learning and Listening Center for children with special needs with her husband, Dr. Jackson Varady and sister, Dr. Jennifer Glasser, who are also psychologists. Pamela lives in Santa Monica with her husband and 13 year old twin boys.



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