Managing children, our own or other people’s, can be a challenge. One important but neglected aspect is how we use ‘incidents’ as learning opportunities. Rather than scolding them when they get into a spat, we can do more good by helping kids handle disputes.

Here is a five point prompt for parents, teachers and others on helping children manage disputes. The author Michael Lang is best known for his work as a mediator, but he is also a parent and grandparent.

He suggests a few simple methods that can help children resolve their disputes. They won’t avoid conflict, but their disagreements will be less disagreeable and that will make life a lot more agreeable for parents or carers as well.

The author Michael Lang is best known for his work as a mediator, but he is also a parent and grandparent. He suggests a few simple methods that can help children resolve their disputes.

Lang says “these might work although you won’t always be successful. Sometimes children just seem to need to argue. Stick with it. These techniques will work most of the time and make our job as parents a little easier.”

Helping kids handle disputes doesn’t mean that they’ll always avoid conflict, but their disagreements will be less disagreeable and that will make life a lot more agreeable for parents or carers as well.

More importantly, they’ll learn much-neglected life skills.