Kids’ conflicts often sound like nonsense to adults — quarreling about a toy or joking about someone’s appearance seem insignificant. But in fact, these things can sometimes grow into quite a chase and the conflict can end up involving the whole class instead of the 2 initial parties. Unfortunately, parents don’t always know how to solve these kinds of issues and can worsen the situation by their actions or advice.
At Bright Side, we’ve collected incorrect but frequent types of behavior that parents try to help with along with some recommendations that could help improve the situation.
1. Going to school and quarreling with children
Going to school and scolding the kids who insulted your child is a wide-spread method for solving this issue. Unfortunately, it makes almost no sense. The older the kids are, the less authority adults have over them. It’s kids of the same age who have real weight at this period in time.
It’s likely that the attempt to put the insulter to shame will worsen the situation. Kids will understand that their opponent can’t stand up for themselves and will complain to their mom. It won’t help your kid gain respect and their schoolmates may start bullying them even more.
What you should do: Visiting the school is a good solution but you should approach the teachers, the principal or the school psychologist. The goal of such a visit is to figure out the issue and find the ways to solve it. Only after that, can you involve children and try to resolve the conflict between them.
2. Trying to reconcile kids by yourself
Parents often think that forcing the insulter to apologize and to promise not to do it again is enough to solve a conflict. This method might work when kids are 3 years old but the older they are, the more difficult solving their conflicts can be.
The insulter can apologize and promise not to do it again with words but it won’t solve the problem. The aggressive attacks can take other forms such as a boycott where it won’t be one child but the whole class taking part in it.
What you should do: You should respect the emotions and feelings of children. Even if the problem seems silly, kids live through it with significant worry. It’s better to understand the conflict better and advise the child on how they can solve it by themselves. If you still want to reconcile kids by yourself, instead of insisting on apologies, it’s better to think up a common activity that will help join them together and forget about the issue at hand.
3. Blaming the insulters for everything
It’s difficult to stay calm when your kid is being offended. The first thing many parents do is blame the other kids for everything. It’s easy to believe that it’s spoiled classmates who threatened your kind, well-mannered child.
However, very often, other kids are not that spoiled — they simply couldn’t find a common language with your kid due to unknown reasons. Anyway, blaming them won’t help solve the problem.
What you should do: Being on your kid’s side is correct but you should also assess the situation soberly. If the conflicts occur frequently, the reason is probably also in the behavior of your child. Perhaps they can’t stand up for themselves or they’re too rude to their classmates. It might be unpleasant to realize such things but knowing what exactly you can correct can make the process of solving the problem easier.
4. Blaming your kid
The other extreme is making your kid feel guilty about their problems. Parents often blame their kids’ unpopularity on speaking quietly, not doing sports, stooping, etc. Moreover, parents keep reminding their kids about this behavior whenever they start complaining about having problems with their classmates.
This type of behavior will lead the kid to stop complaining, but they’ll stop trusting their parents as well.
What you should do: It’s true that conflict may appear due to your kid’s habits and behavior. But what’s the point of telling them about it? It’s better to help your child correct the thing that causes negative reactions in other kids, to teach your son or daughter how to communicate, and how to be more brave and confident. Because the main point is to solve the issue, not to remind the kid of their imperfections.
5. Trying to cajole other kids
Some parents try to help their kids with conflicts by teaching them to earn mercy with a good attitude. A child will often give out many sweets at school so that they can share with classmates, arrange parties where the kid’s other friends are invited, entertain them and more. However, the result of this approach will leave your child unrespected by all the other kids.
By behaving this way, parents place their kid into a lower position beforehand by showing them that they are ready to “pay” in order to make others play with them.
What you should do: A good attitude can’t be bought. If the conflict is already there, financial investments and the like won’t help to solve it. Kids are impressed by a strong character, unexpected help or a good sense of humor – those are the kinds of traits you should encourage in your kid.
6. Comforting your kid instead of finding a solution
When your kid is upset, the first thing you want to do is comfort them. Unfortunately, that’s all a parent can do.
For example, what if a child is teased about their weight? Parents often show compassion and in turn, can’t say no to their kid when they want junk food or entertainment at home. All these help the kid to release stress but the problem doesn’t disappear. As a result, your home becomes a nice and safe place but the life and relationships outside of it keep getting worse.
What you should do: When your kid was little, a comforting environment at home was enough for them. However, the older they get, the more important it is to create a good outside environment for their normal development. Conflicts don’t help this. It’s good when parents can support a kid psychologically but they should first think about the solution to the problem even if they will have to sacrifice a part of their comfort for it.
7. Keeping yourself aloof
Parents have an abundance of their own issues. That’s why very often they don’t pay attention to their kids’ difficulties. It seems to them that these problems are temporary and not important; and that the child can cope with it themselves. Sometimes it really happens to be so.
However, frequent ignoring of problems may lead to a situation of your kid closing up and having no desire to share anything with you.
What you should do: Not all kids’ problems require your involvement. Anyway, it’s better to stay aware of what is going on in your child’s life and watching its development from the sidelines. It will help you to both keep your kid’s trust and not to miss the moment when a usual conflict can grow into something more dangerous.
School conflicts are not an absolute evil — sometimes they can even be useful. They can help kids learn to interact socially. The main thing to remember is to make sure they stay within adequate frames.
How did your parents help you cope with conflicts in your childhood? Please tell us about it in the comments!