How Kids Can Solve Their Conflicts With Others

Kids can easily be in conflict with one another—in school or among siblings. Conflict with others can be upsetting. Conflict can occur when kids can’t agree about something. Sometimes they argue or use physical force in their conflict.

The conflict can be over contested toys or space or which program to watch on television. Researchers reveal that conflict between children at play occurs about once every three minutes. So, because conflict is so much a part of life, it’s important to learn how to manage it and resolve it—peacefully, not violently.

Solving problems, conflicts and disagreements with words instead of with

force promotes self-confidence and develops resiliency. Adults can help kids form strong bonds with others by showing them how to use conflict resolving skills.

Typically, kids deal with conflict in the following ways: they avoid it, or they use force, or they give in. These are not healthy options. Research shows that about 60 percent of kids rely on adults to resolve their conflicts.

In researching resiliency, we have identified some of the essential social-emotional skills about solving conflicts peacefully and without hurting one another: listen to each other; together, figure out a solution; show respect for one another; apologize; forgive; take time to cool off; ask an adult for help; know when to walk away. Here is a simple learning activity that you can practice with kids.


A = ASK what the problem is.

B = BRAINSTORM positive solutions.

C = CHOOSE a solution that is fair to all.

D = DO it! Try the solution. Make the effort.

E = EVALUATE whether it worked for you and the other person.

As caring adults, we can fulfill the important role of coach, role model or facilitator for kids in showing them how to resolve conflict. We don’t need to lecture or scold or dictate.

The research is clear: learning positive conflict resolution builds self-confidence, boosts academic performance, and increases self-esteem. Learning how to resolve conflict with siblings and peers helps kids cope with other kinds of stress, strengthening their resiliency into their teen years and adulthood.



Our emotions—our feelings–are what make us human.  Something very important to understand is that feelings are neither right nor wrong.  Also, feelings are personal, yet everyone experiences similar kinds of feelings. So, while we are unique and distinct in how we experience our own feelings, we also share similarities with others. And this is important to understand: we are so wonderfully alive and responsive to what’s going on in our lives that we can have several different feelings in a day.

Beginning at a very young age, children experience emotions.  Kids can feel sad, happy, angry and fearful.  It’s not unusual for children to not always understand their emotions or to know how to express them.  Typically, it’s around age six when we expect kids to be developing “emotional regulation.”                                            Learning how to talk about feelings—learning a “feelings vocabulary”—is something that caring adults can teach kids.  Once youngsters can put a name on what they are feeling, they are better to communicate.  They can tell others what’s troubling them.  As adults, we know how relieved we feel when we can share something and it’s the same for kids.

Resilient Children shows adults how to help kids accept and express their emotions.  Additionally, learning how to manage disturbing or harsh emotions is an additional skill learned through role-playing and behavioral rehearsal.


Making new friends can be a daunting challenge for children.  Kids who are new to a school or neighborhood are even more challenged and may fear not being able to make any friends or wind up being a loner. With your support, your child can learn ways of initiating friendships and keeping them.

Resilient Children gives the tools to adults to do exactly that! This book is a hands-on resource for parents, educators—all adults who care about inspiring kids to thrive and succeed.

Resilient Children provides specific learning activities that caring adults can use to teach specific friendship-making behaviors to kids. These games are appropriate from kindergarten through elementary school age children. The many learning activities become a tool box of skills that your child needs to make and keep friendships.

The message that Resilient Children conveys to kids is that being a good friend helps two people feel good—yourself and your friend. Underlying this message is the reality that in friendships, kids will grow confident and secure.   We adults know how valuable our friendships are, and children begin to discover this truism early in their lives.



Developing Resiliency Through the Power of Story

Listening to life stories of adults helps children build resiliency and self esteem. It allows them to envision new possibilities, to try again, to hope again, to believe in themselves again.

Your personal stories can help build resiliency in a child. Your stories of personal courage, perseverance and triumph feed the imagination of the young and the vulnerable. Your story can guide youngsters through peril or help them face dangers. Your heroic tales can inspire kids who are frightened or threatened.

Think about all you can talk about— turning points, special moments, triumphs, recovering from an accident or sickness, meeting an unforgettable character, success, friendship, kindnesses, people you’ve admired, a lesson learned.

Your vivid personal stories teach: how you stood up to a bully, found a way around danger, got through tough times, overcame a disappointment, kept your wits in a dangerous situation, created a new way out of an old place, rescued a friendship, braved a storm or survived the loss of a loved one.

You just may discover that “Once upon a time” can be the most profound words you will ever use to help a child succeed and thrive.

So, what’s your story?