1. Let them know that conflict is a normal part of growing up.
Helping your child understand that all kids, even the best of friends, sometimes have disagreements will lead to less drama and better coping. All children need direct instruction on how to handle disagreements. Here are a few I like to share with students:
- Never get physical!
- Stop, Think, and Calm yourself down before you say or do something you might regret (teach them coping skills like walking away, taking deep breaths, counting to 10, etc).
- Habit #5 from The Leader in Me: Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood.
- Try to Talk things out - LISTEN to the other kid!
- Assume good intent - some kids think others are out to get them and end up making a mountain out of a molehill!
- Realize you can't control other people - you can only control yourself.
2. Make a habit of talking about your child's day.
Get to know who your child plays with, what games they play, who they like (or don't like) in their class. This is one way to Be Proactive (Leader in Me Habit #1) as a parent and anticipate any small problems with school friends before they become great big problems!
3. Avoid "coming to the rescue."
Children need to learn how to handle their own conflicts - it will help them prepare for what they will face in adulthood. If you attempt to fix problems for your child, even behind the scenes, he or she will have a harder time building that life skill and suffer for it later. In your daily conversations, ask them how they think a problem should be solved - then encourage them to try out the solutions!
4. Encourage your child to think about how they might have contributed to a conflict.
I'm sure you've noticed that many children do not like to talk about their role in a conflict with another student! It's hard for anybody to do so, but it's an important part of building self-reflection skills and can often diffuse a situation quickly. If your child is willing to take part of the blame, the other student will most likely be willing to let down some of their defenses and talk about coming to a solution.
5. Sometimes students just need to take a break from each other!
When two kids who spend all their time together also seem to be spending all their time fighting, it may be time for them to take a break from one another, even if only for a day or two. I usually recommend a week. This gives them a chance to connect with other friends and get a little space. When they come back together, it's often a good idea for them to decide on some "group rules" and a "problem-solving plan" for their friendship so they know what to do when conflicts resurface.
If you believe your child is being targeted and repeatedly victimized by another student, you should contact administration, Principal Badynee or Vice Principal Klarner, with your concerns.