Conflict Management Strategies for Children

There are several strategies that the children use to manage conflict.

Some of these strategies according to (Joshi, 2006) include but not limited to Submission, Compromise, Conventional, Standoff, Third party intervention, Aggression, Assertion, Discussion and Withdrawal. (Joshi, 2006).

According to Joshi, submissions strategy occurs when the child, who is the target individual in the conflict gives in and accepts the perspective of the friend while the compromise strategy means the child has to offer a middle-ground solution upon which the two parties in the conflict are supposed to come to a concession. The other stated strategy is the conventional strategy in which the target child apologizes and or ignores the friend. For withdrawal, the child withdraws from the conflicts. It can also be said that the child avoids the conflict. (Joshi, 2006)

Joshi further explains that the Aggression strategy, the child uses verbal force through yelling and also forces through the conflict, where he/she employees physical aggression.This strategy is very dangerous because at times it may escalate the conflict to an extent of fighting.(Joshi,2006). “Such behavior only escalates the conflict, it doesn’t seek to sort out the situation nor consider the other persons feelings; “thus, the aggressive approach to conflict resolution remains high on the self-side of the scale, with no concern for the ‘other.’”(Donegani & Seguin, 2016).

The third-party intervention strategy involves the conflicting parties seeking the help of a mediator- a third party who is not involved in the conflict. This strategy may involve parents in a home setting or teachers, in a school setting. Apart from teachers and parents, it may include older people other than the involved parties such as older siblings, relatives and care givers. The mediator listens to the two opposing party grievances and then gives an opinion to help them reach a solution. They help diffuse the standoff and make things right for the two parties. Some parties may not be satisfied by the intervention because bias sometimes exist, where one party is favored.

The other approach that the children may use is the discussion strategy. In this scenario, the child may seek a friend’s perspective or opinion by explaining what happened and reasons why he/she feels the way they do. He may be giving in, but there is no intent or instead evidence to conform compromise in this case (Joshi, 2006).

Discussion is an essential strategy that children employ to manage conflict across cultures. (Joshi, 2006). These discussions are only possible if there exists a strong friendship between friends. In many learning discussions, socialization is introduced as a tool that maintains social-cultural order. When a child socializes with another child of a different culture there are chances that they are learning from each other concerning their customs, beliefs, and morals. Such socializations helps them to be in a position to avoid conflict among themselves because they clearly understand and appreciate each other’s culture from what they have learned from one another.

The positive effects of socializing and participating in social groups towards conflict management are that it helps children develop better self-control in managing their emotions as well as their behavior. Also, by socializing and participating in groups, children can learn among themselves means of conflict management across cultural borders. The children also become empathetic and are in a position to consider each other’s perspective hence maintaining a good relationship among themselves.

Another common method of conflict management among children of different cultures is compromising (Joshi, 2006). This “agrees to disagree” conflict management strategy is one in which one of the children engaging in the conflict offers a middle ground solution to the conflict. The parties participating in conflict all need to be aware that the outcome of the strategy may not be as they hoped. The middle ground solution may not be long lived, but it offers a temporary solution to halt the conflict. This way, the amicable solution methods can be employed to oversee the leading cause of the conflict and to create a peaceful co-existence among the children.

Additionally, children can also apply the leave strategy. (Markovits & St-Onge, 2009 p144). This is one of the most common non-aggressive strategies that children employ to diffuse a conflict. Reduced problematic behaviors characterize the leave strategy and the push strategy.

Other than that, they can also use a negotiation technique. Agreeableness is positively related to the use of powerless conflict resolution techniques such as negotiation (Gadke, Tobin & Schneider, 2016). On the other hand, agreeableness is inversely related to the use of power related tactics, and this breeds a behavior problem in the course of its application. The use of powerless tactics such as the negotiation mentioned above brings about adaptive behavior. The idea of the inverse relationship between agreeableness and power related tactics brings about disruptive, and most in other cases breed verbally aggressive behaviors among children as well.

It is important to mention that, these strategies differ between genders. In gender consideration, male children tend to apply more aggression and revenge as well as control goals methods when dealing with the fellow males. This shows the gender difference in approach in the hypothetical conflict scenarios (Noakes & Rinaldi, 2006). Physical confrontation is more evident in male children as compared to female children who use less violent means of conflict management. Rinaldi and Health further explains that the aggressive nature of male children is driven by the desire to control and exert power over their fellow male friends. On the other hand, females use more equity and relationship goals when handling such hypothetical peer exchange scenarios. The reason being that friendship goals drive the female children while the need for power and control drives their male counterparts. Even as we observe children playing at a park, we can see that boys are more aggressive and enjoy playing games to challenge playmates. Girls on the other hand are gentler, and focus on social interactions. Because of this, “they more often use strategies to reduce conflict, such as refraining from making strong claims and looking for opportunities to agree with others”(Underwood & Hurley, 2001).

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