Conflict Resolution Strategies for Teens

Students who are in the process of learning how to interact positively and respectfully with one another may find themselves embroiled in conflicts more often than they would like. When emotions run high, problems tend to escalate. Teens, especially girls, often pull other friends into the conflict, making the problem bigger.
Suddenly, winning the argument seems more important than solving the problem, and as a result, both self-esteem and friendships can be damaged.
Here are fifteen simple communication, social and anger management strategies that can help keep problems manageable and assist teens in working them out respectfully and healthily.
Communication Strategies
  • Talk to the person directly. Don't use other people to speak for you. While it may be uncomfortable, you will decrease the chances for miscommunication.
  • Get all the facts first. Don't jump to conclusions. You may think you know everything about what happened, but gettting the other person's perspective will help you understand where they are coming from.
  • Listen. Don't interrupt, argue, or accuse.
  • Use "I statements" to state your feelings and perspective. Statements that begin with "I" rather than "You" tend to be less threatening.
  • Apologize if you've done something wrong or hurt someone. Don't be afraid to take responsbility for your part in the problem.
Social Strategies
  • Fight the problem, not the person. Remember, when the conflict is over, you may still want a relationship with this person. Be respectful.
  • Keep the problem small. Don't involve other people. Resist the temptation to involve all of your friends and get them to take "sides" in the conflict.
  • Use reflective listening to hear what the other person has to say and how they feel. If they feel heard and understood, it will go a long way towards solving the problem.
  • Relax and laugh about it. Don't take things to seriously.
  • You aren't going to win every argument. Be willing to compromise. Find a middle ground you can both live with.
Anger Management Strategies
  • Cool off first before trying to solve the problem. You will be more rational and more ready to tackle the issue.
  • If possible, separate your anger from the issue. Try to attack the problem from a cool and rational perspective.
  • If the other person is angry, don't take it personally. Suggest you wait to talk about the problem until he or she has calmed down.
  • Leave the past in the past. Don't bring up old conflicts. They don't matter now, and bringing them up only makes it harder to solve the current problem.
  • Get adult help if things start to escalate or you can't solve the problem yourself.
There is a way to solve problems without damaging relationships. Resolving conflicts positively and respectfully is hard work, but with a little practice, these strategies can become second nature.
Source: Suite101
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