Teaching students to manage their own conflicts. They resolve conflicts on their own in a peaceful way, reduce incidents of violence and build healthy relationships.
Resolving conflicts without resorting to violence is symptomatic to a young person’s inability to handle confrontation. Being aware of the potential for conflicts, be able to identify a conflict situation and deal with it calmly and constructively.
Learning to manage conflict situations in constructive ways without attacking the other person, no name calling, yelling, hitting, accusing or threatening the other person. Avoiding clamming up because positive results can only be attained with two-way communication.
What is 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.
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 Conflicts
Causes of conflicts between students include disagreement between individuals or groups regarding ideas, interests, principles or values, limited resources, communication problems, rivalry between groups, a youth who is impolite to others (such as competing with fellow young people or insulting opinions of others), rude, mean, teasing, jealousy, physical aggression and bullying.
Conflict Management Styles
Conflict is a natural part of life and it can be resolved peacefully. Develop awareness of your own unique responses to conflict. The five conflict styles are 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 meet somewhere in the middle) and collaborating.
Using inappropriate conflict styles can create more problems. It is not healthy to suppress emotions or feelings like anger, 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.
5 Ways to Resolve Conflicts on Your Own
1. Calm down. Control your emotions and behaviour. Cool off when angry or upset. Focus on the problem not the personalities. This will enable you appraise the situation objectively and deal with it constructively.
Communicate your feelings without threatening, frightening or placing blame. Be respectful. Respect differences.
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. Name your emotions, angry, enraged, frustrated, sad, hopeless, empty, shocked, depressed, ashamed, worried, confused, guilty, lonely, jealous, nervous.
2. Listen carefully. Listen well to understand the perspectives and needs of the other person. Really listening to the other person and try to see the problem from their perspective.
Listen without interrupting. Listen and respond to the other person in a way that improves mutual understanding. Demonstrate concern, paraphrase to show understanding. Use non verbal cues which show understanding such as eye contact, leaning forward, nodding, brief verbal affirmations like “l see” “l know” “sure” “Thank you” or “l understand”.
3. Talk about it. Address the real issue. Focus on the issues. Ask what is the real source of the problem and deal with it directly. Understand the underlying needs, drives the behaviour that worries or challenges the other person. In many cases, challenging behaviour is the symptom of unmet needs. Something hidden but shapes our responses or reactions.
Use “I” statements rather than “you” statements
Using effective needs statements will empower and energize others see a situation and behaviour in new imaginative ways. Use “I” statements to let others know what you need. ‘I feel hurt when..’ instead of ‘you caused me to’..
4. Brainstorm solutions. Search for options together to solve the problem. Choose a solution acceptable to all involved.
5. Take responsibility for your role in the conflict. Learn from it. Think of what you could have done differently and how you will handle the situation in future. Affirm, forgive or thank others.
Peer/student mediators mediate between others. Student mediators work with their peers to resolve the disputes they cannot resolve themselves.
Conflict Resolution Activities
The activities to make conflict resolution learning fun. Role play, games, creative writing and stories.