Teaching Kids To Be Peacemakers

As a Chaplain I often talk to kids about issues in peer relationships. And no doubt if you have more than one child at home conflict will be a common theme in your home too! Imagine how much better life could be for you and them if you can teach your children how to resolve conflicts among themselves, or with their friends and other people they know. In this term’s newsfeeds we’ll be exploring how to teach kids to be peacemakers, rather than peace breakers, with 12 key tips from Focus on the Family.

Here is the first of 12 key principles that young peacemakers need to learn:

Conflict is a slippery slope. 

Some children try to escape from a conflict, while others try to solve it by going on the attack. Few naturally try to work it out.

Escape Responses: These responses are used to get away from a conflict instead of trying to resolve it. They delay healing. Escape responses include:

  • Denial — Pretending that a conflict does not exist or refusing to do what we can to work it out
  • Blame Game — Blaming others for the problem, pretending we did nothing wrong, covering up what we did, lying
  • Running Away — Prolonging the problem by running away from the other person

Attack Responses: These are wrong attempts to win a fight rather than resolve it. They damage a relationship further rather than repairing it. Attack responses include:

  • Put Downs — Attacking others with harsh and cruel words, stirring up anger in others
  • Gossip — Talking about others behind their backs
  • Fighting — Using physical force to get your way

Work-It-Out Responses: These are the only good ways to respond to a conflict.

  • Overlook an Offense — Dealing with an offense yourself by simply deciding to forgive a wrong
  • Talk-It-Out — Going directly to the other person to talk out your disagreements
  • Get Help — Asking a parent or teacher to help you decide how to handle the conflict you are involved in

The first step in helping kids learn to be peacemakers is helping them identify how they respond to conflict and encouraging good ways to work it out. In the next newsfeed I’ll share some more tips for helping kids (and adults!) resolve conflict.