Kids' Health
Visit website  
Home › Topics › Fun & Games > 

Conflict resolution - for kids

conflict; listening; negotiate; compromise; resolve; resolution; understanding; working together; outcomes; skill; listen; feelings; put downs; positive; listen; talk; anger; unfair; argument.; communication; negotiation; honesty;


What is conflict resolution?

Sometimes we all get pretty angry.

We may feel that something is unfair, something has been taken or broken that we value, someone is being mean, we're not getting a fair share, etc.

So what do you do?

Well, you could throw a huge tantrum, get really upset, be mean to everybody etc.

Would any of these things solve the problem? I don't think so!

Well, what could you do?

Conflict Resolution 
Try to sort things out so that everyone gets a fair go and something of what they want. There are 4 things that you need to do.
1    Understand
2    Avoid making things worse
3    Work together
4    Find the solution


Everyone involved needs to understand what the conflict (argument) is about.

To do this, everyone needs to:

  • say what they feel about it (without interruptions).
  • listen to what other people have to say about their feelings (without interrupting them).
  • try to put themselves in the other person's shoes and try to understand their point of view.

Avoid making things worse

  • no put-downs
  • no mean, nasty remarks that will hurt people's feelings - no personal remarks about a person's looks, gender (whether they are a boy or girl), their 'secrets' or things that have happened in the past
  • no screaming and shouting
  • no fighting, hitting, kicking, pushing or any kind of hurting the other person's body.

Work together

Make "I" statements, like: 
"I feel hurt when..." 
"I need to feel or be..." 
"I hear what you are saying, but I feel..."

  • Say what you feel without blaming the other person, e.g. "I feel sad when you shout" is better to say than "Your shouting makes me feel sad."
  • Take turns at speaking. You might even want to decide on a time limit for each person to speak before you get started. That way everybody gets the same chance to say what he or she wants.
  • Talk quietly. It's hard to keep your voice down when you feel upset, but a quiet firm voice is far better than someone shouting. A loud nasty voice makes everyone upset and unwilling to listen.
  • Write down what you each see as the problem and then read what the other person has written.
  • Do some active listening (show the person that you are listening) by:
    • looking at them, to show that you are giving your full attention. Don't overdo it though. Staring hard at someone makes that person feel uncomfortable.
    • making 'listening noises' (but not interrupting). You know the sort of thing - "Uh huh", saying "yes" or "no" in the right places.
    • repeating what you heard. When they've finished, say what you think you've heard from them, eg. "So, your problem is that I haven't tidied my part of our room?"

Find the solution

Once you have listened to each other and found what the problem is, then you need to look for a solution.

  • conflictBrainstorm together to think of ways in which you could resolve the conflict. Think of as many solutions as you can, even if they seem silly at first.
  • Another person may be helpful to write down your ideas or suggest ways of making your ideas work so that you can resolve the conflict.

Possible outcomes

Yes/yes   when both of you are pleased with what you worked out.
Yes/no when one side is happy because they got what they wanted and the other is sad because they didn't get what they wanted.
No/No when neither side is happy because nobody got what they wanted (you know the sort of thing, when mum or dad step in and say that no-one gets anything, because you can't work out your problem!)

Which do you think is the best outcome?

Yes/yes is the best because everyone gets something. But, you will need to be very good at these conflict-solving skills so that each gets something that he/she wanted. conflict

When you have come to a solution that both of you can agree with, then you have to be responsible for carrying it out.

If things don't work out then you need to go through the whole process again to see how it could be improved.

conflictConflict resolution is not easy. It takes everyone involved to work together willingly and to accept and carry out what has been decided.

Some schools have peer mediators. These are children who go through a special training so that they can help other children to work through the problems they are having with each other.

Parents, teachers and counsellors can all help you to learn the skills for resolving conflict and becoming a more confident, responsible and independent person.

Dr Kim says:

Dr Kim

Problems don't go away if you ignore them - in fact usually they get worse. It's a good idea to face problems and get them sorted out as soon as you can.



How would you resolve the following conflicts?

1 You and your friend are watching TV. You want to watch one program and your friend wants to watch another. What could you do?
2 Your friend gave you some pencils belonging to her brother and he wants them back. What could you do?
3 You have lost your friend's library book. What could you do?
4 Your sister is always going into your room and borrowing your stuff without asking. What could you do?
5 Your baby brother/sister chews your homework! What do you do?

Remember to

  • Think about the problem.
  • Say what you feel.
  • Listen to the other person.
  • Brainstorm solutions.
  • Decide what each one will do.
  • Stick to what you have decided.
  • Talk again if the solution is not working.

Were you able to think of solutions to the problems?

Conflict resolution

I was a victim of a crime
My sister did commit.
I yelled at her so loudly
I was sent to my room to sit.
It's not fair I know
That I was told off today.
But if I talk to my sister,
"Sucked in" is all she'll say.
So, I do know what I'll do
I'll tell mum in a calm way
My sister is the culprit.
Yes, that's what I'll say.

By Sophie
I'm feeling really angry
I want to stamp and scream.
I never thought she'd break it,
Not in my wildest dream.
I don't think that I'll forgive her
For ever and a day.
But, I'll take a breath and listen
To what she's got to say.
I'm feeling quite ashamed now
For shouting out like that.
My sister didn't break it.
The culprit was the cat.
We've come to a solution
"We'll lock our door," we said.
We shook hands with each other.
The cat went to the shed.


Multi-selection quiz

Each question has more than one answer - mark all those you think are correct.

Click here to open the quiz window

back to top

We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


Home › Topics › Fun & Games >