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Learning how to Handle Conflicts

February 07, 2018
By Nikki Curliss

“He took my pencil.”

“She cut in line.”

“He won’t let me play soccer at recess.”

These are typical conflicts that arise. Conflicts are a part of life, but conflict management is a life skill for students to learn how to handle problems first before involving adults.

Recently, I have spent time with our students teaching some basic conflict management techniques. Here is a list of items to help your students manage situations at school and at home.  

1- First you need to cool off and think clearly. You might be upset and you might need to walk away and calm down before you get more upset.

2- Speak directly to the person. If you have a conflict you want to address it with the person so that it can be cleared up. You do not want to go tell others as a way of spreading gossip.

3-Speak assertively. You can speak directly to that person and still get your point across in a assertive way instead of an aggressive way.

4-Listen to what the other person has to say. Be willing to listen to the other person. It’s normal for us to care about our own hurt needs, but by listening you can understand why the other person behaved in this way.

5-Have options. You cannot control what others say or do, but you can control your own actions and words. Here are some options when you have a problem or conflict with another person; come up with a compromise, talk out the problem, share and take turns, walk away, tell them to stop, find another group of friends to be with.

Conflicts are a part of life, but conflict management techniques can lesson the negative effects. By practicing these techniques at home and at school, students can be better equipped to manage conflicts first before involving others and before they go from small to big problems.

Nikki Curliss, Guidance Counselor, has been at StMM for 6 years. She enjoys spending time helping students one-on-one and with whole classroom lessons.