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Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at 
(847) 498-5611.

How to Teach Your Child How to Resovle Conflict
by Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D.

What parent doesn’t want their child to develop their sense of personal power in their relationships? What parent wouldn’t want their child to be able to settle their disputes with others in a respectful manner that doesn’t cause harm to their child or the person that their child is experiencing conflict with? How can you best assist them?

You can help your child learn how to feel empowered in their relationships by helping them develop confidence in their interpersonal skills. You can teach your child how to effectively and respectfully solve their interpersonal problems.

The best way to teach your child how to effectively and respectfully solve their interpersonal problems is allow your child to solve their problems rather than you solving their problems for them. By allowing your child to struggle with a problem and making them responsible for the eventual solution, you provide an important opportunity for your child to grow and develop a sense of competence. So try the following suggestions in order to help your child take responsibility for their actions and their well-being in their relationships.

First, be prepared to let your children learn. That means that you should not rush in and solve their problems for them. Acting too quick to fix your child’s problem for them helps no one in the long run! Afford your child the opportunity to learn how to struggle and develop important coping skills from their struggles.

Second, communicate to your child that you have confidence in their ability to solve their problems. It’s tempting for your child to attempt to draw you in to their conflicts in order to have you make it all better. Although doing so may bring momentary relief to both you and your child, it doesn’t afford your child the opportunity to develop and apply the skills that they need to develop.

Third, let your child know that you are there for them. Give them the message that you understand how scary it is to confront others. Let them know although they have to confront their antagonist by themselves, your child is not all alone—you’ll be there to coach them and support them.

Fourth, teach your child the following plan. Following this plan will provide important structure for both you and your child. It also provides a way for your child to be accountable to themselves and to you for their actions and implementing the solution to the problems that their actions may cause.

1.) Listen to what your child has to say.
2.) Encourage them to express their feelings about the problem they’re attempting to solve.
3.) Express your faith in their ability to solve the problem.
4.) Help them develop choices for how best to solve their problem.
5.) Discuss with your child the affect that their behavior has on other people.
6.) Discuss with your child what are appropriate limits for your child in the situation that your child is attempting to solve.
7.) Discuss what the limits or boundaries of the person that your child is in conflict that your child needs to honor.
8.) Examine the consequence of each choice that the two of you develop.
9.) Create an action plan for implementing the final choice that the two of you decide on.
10.) Follow-up with your child after the action plan has been implemented.
11.) Examine in the follow-up what worked and what didn’t work from the original action plan.
12.) Make the necessary corrections in the action plan and implement the corrected plan of action.
13.) Repeat steps 7, 8, and 9 until your child is satisfied with the outcome.

This method may seem more labor intensive than just intervening from the beginning, but I trust that you can see the long-term objective that this method serves.

Bridge Builder’s Checklist
1.) Teach your child to resolve rather than ignore conflict.
2.) Teach your child to express rather than act out their feelings.
3.) Teach your child to develop an understanding of how your child’s behavior affects other people.
4.) Teach your child what appropriate limits are.
5.) Teach your child how to honor the limits or boundaries of others.
6.) Ensure that your child experiences the consequences of their choices.

For more information about how to develop a strong healthy emotional connection with your child, read Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. free online books, Entering the World of Your Child: How to Nurture Your Child’s Spirit and Building Better Bridges: Creating Great Relationships With the People Who Matter Most.



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