Empowering Your Children to Handle Their Own Conflicts

By Michele Robert Poche

Squabbling over a teddy bear, taking turns on the monkey bars or even sharing the same friend are reasons one child can come into conflict with another. And, in today’s generation of helicopter parenting (no judgment here. I am a card-carrying member of this organization!), it’s more critical than ever to teach kids to handle their own conflict resolution.

How can you cure this problem? The answer is in the question. 

Just remember C-U-R-E. 

(Note: You are only the moderator.)


Calm Down.

Allow the disputing parties to step away from each other to count to ten or spend a few hours (or even days if they’re not siblings) apart. Taking time and space to cool off will ensure that the problem is handled rationally without anyone saying something in the moment that he could later regret.

Understand Each Other.

Once the adversaries have had some time to collect themselves, bring them together and let them each tell her side of the story using I-messages. (“I felt left out when …”). This style of communication enables the child to identify her own emotions without blaming the other child and putting her on the defensive.

Regret, Responsibility & Remedy

These are the three R’s of a good apology.  It’s important that one or both parties be truly sorry, be accountable for their share of the issue and be involved in finding a compromise to prevent this problem from happening again.


As the moderator, you’re the most important part on this one. When you see the above steps being followed and conflicts being resolved independently, commend the compromisers on a job well done. Then remind them to use these valuable life skills every single time. 

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