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Asset: Peaceful Conflict Resolution

7 Steps to Making Peace

Children who learn how to think about their relationships with other people do better in life in general,” says Myrna B. Shure, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist. Shure created the I Can Problem Solve (ICPS) program, which focuses on the thinking skills needed for young people to resolve conflicts peacefully.

Shure suggests that before young people begin discussing a specific conflict, they find out if the time and place are good for the discussion. If so, they can begin the seven-step process. If not, they should identify a time and place thatwork for everyone involved. Next:

  1. Identify the conflict. Have each person talk about what happened. Each person’s account is equally important.
  2. Talk about the events that led to the conflict.What happened first? Second?What increased the conflict?
  3. Name how you feel. Ask others involved to identify how they feel. Encourage people to be honest about how they feel without blaming others.
  4. Listen carefully to each person’s feelings and accounts of the conflict. Use empathy skills. Try to understand each person’s point of view.
  5. Brainstorm solutions. Be creative. Affirm each person’s ideas but keep encouraging people to think of different solutions.
  6. Evaluate each solution. Choose one solution that everyone agrees on.
  7. Monitor how the solution works. If something needs to change, start again.

If children can learn to solve typical everyday problems, they are less likely to become impulsive, insensitive,withdrawn, aggressive, or antisocial,” Shure says. “In the long run it is important for children to learn how to think about the problems they encounter in their dealings with other people.”

Together with your children, do something for someone else. The Salvation Army has many opportunities for service! Whether it’s shopping for a child from our Angel Tree, donating food for a holiday meal, helping to distribute toys to those in need or ringing a bell to raise funds, helping others makes sense.

Time Together

Three ways to improve peaceful conflict resolution with your child:
  1. Set up a specific place in your home for peacemaking. For example, you might identify a certain room for family members to resolve conflicts. In this room, you might require that people use respectful words and take turns talking and listening.
  2. When conflicts occur at home, use author William Kreidler’s approach: CAPS. Cool off. Agree to work it out. Point out your view. Solve the problem.
  3. Admit when you’ve responded poorly to conflict. Apologize. Suggest new ways to solve the conflict.

Looking for more Ideas?

Download the latest Ideas for Parents Newsletter for more tips, hints and details about Service to Others.

Learn more about the 40 Developmental Assets from Search Institute (Minneapolis, MN).

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