Managing Behavioural Problems in Adolescents


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Managing behaviour problems in adolescents. When your child exhibits challenging behaviour or when he/she has made wrong choices, communicate with him/her clearly and calmly. Focus on the problem using effective and assertive communication.

Listen to Your Child

Really listen to your child. Engage in active listening. Put your phone down and make eye contact. Listening to your child is important and try not to downplay your child’s concerns. Keep to boundaries. Do not give in to bad behaviour. Make your child know your concern is for his/her safety and well-being now and in the future.

Determine Underlying Causes

Listen attentively to determine and address underlying causes. Look beyond the rebellious behaviour to the causes behind it. Ask questions to make him or her express his feelings, needs, concerns to get to the root of the problem. If appropriate give the child a chance to help solve the problem.

Assess Your Parenting Style

Evaluate the impact of your lifestyle and parenting style in the life of your child. Pay attention to your own habits and approach to parenting in terms of discipline, guidance and meeting the unique needs of the child.

Model healthy conflict resolution offer sincere apology and seek forgiveness for genuine shortcomings. Do not apportion blame but decide on what should be done from now on in your relationship with your child. Do not try to make up for past mistakes by becoming overly permissive but set out in a new direction with your child.

Seek Professional Help

Get professional help if you need it  When faced with a difficult or stressful relationship or behaviour you cannot handle on your own seek independent help. Seek the help of a mediator, counsellor or child psychologist. Pray about it. Take it to God in prayer.



Bullying Prevention: Conflict Management Techniques and Skills


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Bullying is a serious problem in schools. It is the use of force, coercion, hurtful teasing or threat to abuse, aggressively dominate or intimidate someone perceived as vulnerable. A bully is the person who is habitually cruel, insulting or threatening to others who are weaker, smaller or in some way vulnerable. It is systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt and/or psychological distress on another. Bullying is a frightening experience many students face everyday.

It can be as direct as hitting, threatening, destruction of property or forcing someone to do something against their will or as indirect as rumour, exclusion or manipulation. Bullying involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the person who bullies and the target students who are bullied. The victims suffer depression, anxiety, increased feelings of sadness, loneliness and insecure.

Bullying in schools is a significant problem and antisocial behaviour. The perpetrators have greater physical or social power than their victims and act aggressively towards them by verbal, physical or social means. School bullies tend to share common traits such as aggressive, dominant and slightly lower than average intelligence.

Bullying and its Effects

Bullying can impact a child on physical, mental or emotional levels. Some of the effects include anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, lack of self-esteem, gastric issues, relationship issues and addiction to alcohol and drugs.

Bullying leads to problems academically and emotionally in addition to poor attendance and decreased academic performance. It causes feelings of helplessness, anger and frustration, mental, physical and emotional damage to all involved including bystanders. Research has shown the effects last well into adulthood. It occurs most often in areas where there is little or no adult supervision.

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Bullying Prevention

One of the benefits of conflict resolution education is the decrease in incidence of violence. Some of the issues that face schools are fighting, bullying, harassment and other forms of violence among students. Effective conflict management decreases these incidents of bullying and violence and creates a constructive learning environment and helps students interact peacefully.

Schools need to have all staff, teachers and administrators on board to prevent bullying from occuring and put some measures in place such as effective conflict resolution strategies for peaceful classrooms and schools.

Conflict Resolution Strategies

Resolving conflict in the classroom and building classroom communities create a climate of warmth and inclusion that respects all students and also holds everyone accountable for being a good citizen. Teachers need a class time for teaching and empowering students in bullying awareness and skills in prevention, appropriate intervention and reporting.

It is important to teach kindness, empathy and assertiveness to students. Teaching children to be kind to others. Create opportunities for connection that foster a sense of community in the classroom. Identify gateway behaviour and prevent bullying behaviour such as name calling, stalking, ignoring or excluding, prolonged staring, laughing cruelly/encouraging others to laugh, causing physical harm mitigate the likelihood of them growing into something more problematic.

Looking out for warning signs. Have a clear definition of bullying. Remove labels and address behaviour to ensure the person who is doing the bullying knows what behaviour is wrong, why it is wrong and what the consequences are for engaging in the behaviour. If the behaviour keeps occurring the parents will need to be involved.

Set clear and enforceable rules and expectations. Age appropriate rules allow a student to know what behaviour is expected. Be consistent in enforcing the rules. Reward positive behaviour. Reinforce good behaviour and it will give students clear expectations of what you want in a positive way. That way the student will be more likely to engage in the positive behaviour again. Have open communication with students talking to them about their problems including bullying.

Parental Involvement

When parents are involved and work together with teachers, the biggest difference can be achieved. Parents should instil healthy habits in their children. Instil anti bullying mindset in your child.  This includes learning that being critical, judgmental, making hurtful jokes and spreading rumors are unhealthy and constitute bullying. Teach your child kindness. Teach your child early about responsible online behaviour. Be sure your child knows the best way to prevent bullying is to report it.

Provide your child tools for dealing with bullying such as walking away, telling the bully in a firm and confident voice to stop, ignore the bully, demonstrate that it does not bother them if other people point out their flaws demonstrating confidence. Teach your child to avoid places where bullies hang, stick with friends not socially isolated, know how to escape the situation, leave the place, if the bully is physical make a lot of noise to attract attention, know how to defuse the situation and get to safety. Report the bully to an adult.

Teaching, modeling and practicing conflict resolution skills with students help everyone. There will be fewer behaviour issues, stronger friendships, safe and constructive learning environment, more time for learning and more prepared for the real world.


Constructive Approaches For Effective Classroom Conflict Management


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Nature of School Conflict

Conflict is part of life we cannot hide from it, we cannot wish it away or pretend that it is not happening. It occurs in families, friendships, schools, workplace, neighborhoods and the society in general.

It occurs when two or more people interact either as individuals or as part of a group. There is always potential for conflict in interactions. The potential for conflict is present in a school setting where you interact with your peers.

It is important for students to be aware of that potential for conflict so that they are able to identify a conflict situation and deal with it calmly and constructively.

The inability to resolve conflict without resorting to violence is symptomatic of a youth’s inability to handle confrontation. Teaching good conflict resolution skills and strategies can help students resolve conflict in a peaceful way, reduce incidents of violence and establish healthy relationships.

Conflict Resolution Strategies

Knowledge of conflict resolution enables you in a conflict situation to listen, remain calm, be respectful and treat the other person the way you want to be treated. It helps you be specific about what is bothering you or what you need without attacking the other person, no name calling, yelling, hitting, accusing or threatening the other person.

You learn to avoid exaggerations, stick with the facts and express your honest feelings. Stay in the present and not bring up other problems you have had in the past. You avoid clamming up because positive results can only be attained with two-way communication.

Managing emotions

You get to learn to manage anger and your behaviour. You can communicate your needs without threatening, frightening or punishing others. Anger management is important to being able to resolve conflicts in a healthy way. If you are too angry or upset, stop and think of a different way you can handle the situation and meet your needs and those of the other people involved. You can be positive and address issues in a non hostile way.

You can identify and name your emotions in order to regulate them and not escalate the conflict. Rather than acting instinctively on your emotions act in a constructive way. Naming your emotions, angry, enraged, frustrated, sad, hopeless, empty, shocked, depressed, ashamed, worried, confused, guilty, lonely, jealous, nervous,

Underlying Needs

You come to understand that underlying needs drive the behaviour that worry or challenge us. In many cases, challenging behaviour is the symptom of unmet needs. Something hidden but shapes our responses or reactions.

Using effective needs statements will empower and energize people to see a situation and behaviour in new imaginative ways. Use I – Statements to let others know what they need in a conflict situation. Use I – Statements rather than you statements. I feel hurt when. . instead of you caused me to. Don’t generalize and avoid words like never, always for positive outcomes.

Bringing your children

Active Listening

This is really listening to the other person and try to see the problem from their perspective. Listening without interrupting. It is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding. Examples of active listening skills include demonstrating concern,  paraphrasing to show understanding, using nonverbal cues which show understanding such as nodding, eye contact and leaning forward. Brief verbal affirmations like ‘l see’ ‘l know’ ‘sure’ ‘Thank you’ or ‘ l understand’.

5 Steps of Conflict Resolution

1. Calm down. When angry or upset. Cool off, cool down. Focus on the problem not on the personalities. This will enable you appraise the situation objectively and deal with it constructively. 2. Listen carefully. Listen well to understand the perspectives and needs of the other person. 3. Talk about it. Address the real issue. Ask what is the real source of the conflict and deal with it directly.

Take responsibility for your role in the conflict. Think about settling the issues not about winning. Use respectful but assertive l statements. ( I feel hurt when…). Ask non defensive questions to clarify issues. 4. Brainstorm solutions. Search for options together to solve the problem. Choose a solution acceptable to all involved. 5. Learn from it. Think of what you could have done differently and how you will handle the situation in future. This helps develop good negotiation skills.

Conflict Resolution Activities 

Peer Mediation

Learning to mediate between others. Peer mediation programmes help students resolve disputes including conflict that has turned violent. Trained mediators work with their peers to resolve the dispute they cannot resolve themselves. This reinforces cooperative behaviour and teaches effective communication.

Role Play

Role-play helps students learn empathy and social skills like cooperation, self-control, teamwork and understanding of different perspectives.




Importance Of Conflict Resolution Programmes In Schools

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Teaching Conflict resolution in secondary schools, communities and correctional centers will help instil problem solving and social-emotional skills in students and improve their mental health. They learn healthy conflict resolution, compromise, cooperation, collaborative approach and conflict resolution mental health skills. They learn to address conflict situations to reduce tension.

Conflict Resolution Skills

Conflict resolution strategies and skills equip students to deal with disputes and conflicts, manage stress quickly, put themselves in the other person’s position, reduce tension and encourage mental strength. Students in dispute learn to express their points of view, interests and find acceptable solutions for a positive outcome through effective communication and listening skills.

They acquire social-emotional skills and strategies which help them build positive relationships, have a sense of right and wrong, reduce incidents of disruptive and violent behaviours. They learn to manage and resolve conflicts effectively in the school and classroom and create peaceful learning environments.

Students learn productive approaches to manage conflicts and solve problems using objective criteria. Strategies to prevent relationships deteriorating as a result of unresolved problems and maintaining respectful relationships. These newly found conflict resolution skills help increase self-esteem, self-respect and self-control.

Understanding Conflict

Conflict can be defined as a serious disagreement, argument or tension. A clash between individuals who perceive a threat to their needs, interests or concerns. A clash of interest. An extended struggle, battle, fight or to disagree with someone over opposite opinions.

Causes of School Conflict

Causes of conflict include disagreements between individuals or groups regarding ideas, interests, principles or values, limited resources, communication problems, disrupting the classroom (such as deliberately dominating class discussions), rivalry between groups, engaging in leisure conversations, causing a scene, a student who is impolite to others in the classroom (such as competing with fellow students or insulting opinions of others), rude, mean, teasing, jealousy, physical aggression and bullying.

Conflict Resolution Styles

Students learn that conflict is normal. They recognize that it is a natural part of life and that it can be resolved peacefully. They develop awareness of their own unique responses to conflict. The five conflict styles, avoiding (avoiding or withdrawing from a conflict), accommodating (giving in), competing (standing your ground), compromising (both parties look for common ground when two sides give up some demands to meet somewhere in the middle), collaborating (The Thomas – Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument) (TKI).

Using inappropriate conflict styles can create more issues. It is not healthy to bottle up feelings like anger and frustration and leaving conflicts unresolved. Collaborating is a combination of being assertive and cooperative, those working together with others to identify a solution that satisfies everyone’s concerns.

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The Goals of Conflict Resolution Education

Enhancing Social and Emotional Development in Students

Students acquire social-emotional skills to help them understand and manage emotions, build and maintain healthy relationships, display self-control, feel and show empathy for others. This is the primary function of schools. They learn to interact with other people who are not members of their family.

Creating a Constructive Learning Environment

Teaching conflict resolution skills to students in schools creates a constructive learning environment by improving school climate, classroom climate and academic performance. When a large number of people gather together in the same space there is a potential for conflict. Different people with differing interests and competing needs. Conflict resolution strategies and skills to resolve differences peacefully, manage emotional expressions and deescalate potentially explosive situations without violence.

Creating a Safe Learning Environment

Teaching students conflict resolution strategies equip them with the skills needed to maintain the school as a safe learning environment where everyone feels safe to focus on their studies. In order to have a functioning school system, it is crucial to create a safe learning environment for all students.

Decreasing lncidents of Violence

Training in effective conflict management decreases incidents of violence, bullying and harassment. Students learn to behave and treat others better. These skills can impact their lives and future positively.

Custody Mediation: Best Interest of the Child Paramount


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Parenting after Separation

Child custody mediation is a process whereby parents work together to develop an agreement for parenting their children after separation with the help of a neutral third party. It is a faster and cost-effective way to resolve a custody case.

According to an African adage, ‘when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers’. Meaning, when the large fight, it is the small who suffer or the weak get hurt in conflicts between the powerful. When parents argue or fight, it is the children that suffer the most.

Custody mediation enables divorcing or separating parents negotiate about future parenting arrangements for their children without the need to go to court.

Parenting Arrangements

The process helps them settle disputes involving child custody arrangements and reach an agreement focused on promoting the best interests of their children who are experiencing significant change brought about by the separation of their parents.

Parents are assisted to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement that enables them develop their own parenting plan. Such that both parents will be involved in the lives of their children doing what is best for themselves and their children.

The parties determine the custody arrangements of which the most common are sole custody, joint custody, physical custody and legal custody and work out the custody and visitation schedules for their family. The mediator cannot impose a decision on them but help them cooperate to raise their children even though they are separated and no longer live together.

The Benefits of Family Mediation

Mediation works contrary to the adversarial system which increases trauma and escalates conflict detriment to the best interests of the children. The mediator works with both parents separately if they do not want to be in the same room together.

It is not estrangement or divorce in itself that inflicts psychological damage on children it is how it is handled. Parents can continue to love their children. They can continue to be actively involved in the lives of their children and cooperate to promote their well-being after separation.