Inside: Struggling to manage conflicts and fights with other children in parks? You are not alone. Read this to know practical tips on how to ease the tense situation.
I am a bad problem solver. Yes. I am! But when we become parents, we analyze every little thing about ourselves, work on it and become a better version. This just doesn’t help in getting rid of negative habits but also turns us into a good role model for our kids.
When our child throws tantrums at home wanting something, we can control them easily using distraction techniques (still tough, though) or giving them what they want.
But when it happens in an outside environment, we turn all pink and blank in embarrassment. And a place where this can happen abundantly is children’s park and playground.
Why Does It Happen Specifically In Parks?
Most of our households either have one or two children. Due to this, they don’t get an opportunity to mingle and play with other kids. And by nature, kids tend to be a little possessive when it comes to their belongings.
Parks or playgrounds are kids favorite places to visit and enjoy. This is where they spend quality time playing in swings, sea-saw etc.
It can be hard for them to understand that other kids want to play too. And it’s very difficult for kids to let go of something they’re enjoying so much, or they just enjoyed it a little while ago, and when they see someone else using the swing or the sand pit or the slide, it’s difficult to share it.
Because for kids it’s all or none..
In their little minds it’s all or none.. there’s no concept of I can always use it again, in their little minds the thing shall be taken away for ever.
When two kids want to play in the same swing or the slide, it often leads to a meltdown form one of them and the other child’s parent is the one who actually goes through the most emotional distress in such moments.
The thing to understand here is — THERE’s NO RIGHT ANSWER!
Sometimes it’s okay to not share that swing and sometimes it’s okay to get your child’s feelings hurt and let the other child have it.
How to Solve Children’s Conflicts In Playgrounds?
Help Your Child Understand Their Emotions
Empathy is the first thing we need to understand when it comes to “what to do when you child is hurt or has hurt the other child’s emotions”.
But owning up their mistakes and acting cool in difficult situations is not a trait they can develop easily. It needs time and effort.
As a first step, you can teach them every emotion and you can help them to recognize those when they go through it.
When they push the plate and say, ‘I don’t want to eat this.’, you might want to blast at them.
Instead, ask them patiently what they feel and why they don’t like it.
They loosen themselves up if they are able to realize what they feel and why they feel it.
This developed trait can help in socially awkward situations like conflicts in parks. You can ask them why they are stubborn about something. And once they soften up, you can put forth valid reasons to make them consider the other child involved too.
Make A Deal
I have often made this mistake.
“Mom, I want to play here alone and not share with anyone.”
“I understand. We can play later when it’s free. Come, let’s go try something else.”
This is a good diversion technique though. But don’t have it as your go-to solution.
By being this way, we are indirectly teaching them that letting go is the best way to solve something.
Instead, we can help them get around the fact that other children are eager to play too. And they will be sad if they don’t get to play. Emote while dealing with the situation, so they can grasp quickly.
Whether they become friends or not, they will find a way to solve it while both get to have fun.
And this is the problem solving skill that I was talking about earlier. When they develop this at an early stage, their future is going to be nothing but bright.
Get To The Level Of Children While They Get Into a Tiff
We cannot talk like an adult when two kids are fighting over something. Particularly, if we don’t know the other kid.
We cannot shout like ‘Behave yourself, kids’ or ‘Let’s get out before I get mad at you.’
Adapt a soft tone, bend down to their level literally and figuratively and tell them why they cannot fight that way.
If at least one of the kids listens to you, it’s a great achievement. When the other parent sees your composed nature, they try that style too. That’s a win-win. You brought a change in someone.
Kids calm down when they know that people are willing to listen rather than forcing their opinion.
Once they come to a conclusion or make a deal, tell them to say ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’.
Communicate in their language to get them to do the necessary thing.
Help Them Sort It Out
If you ask me, I would say this is the best option to solve any conflicts that involve your child. Let one kid listen to the other one and let them decide what’s best for them.
They are excellent in this and even better than us.
We can be their supporters and help them see the other kid’s state. We are equipping them with a skill that’s going to help forever.
Also, they learn to see the world with empathy and kindness.
It’s a cherishing moment for them when their parents trust and let them decide something.
Create an opportunity for them to solve and you will see them handle crises with more maturity.
Pull Them Out Of The Situation If Their Anger Peaks
Things can escalate real quick when kids go to an extreme anger zone. It’s better to isolate them from the area, calm them down and explain the whole issue later.
You can easily sense this from their body language like knitting teeth, stomping their feet, clenching their fist etc.
In these cases we know that it’s beyond control. Before something terrible happens, take them away and help them relax.
Once they are in a better position, explain why they should think about the other child too.
We all have been through situations that test our patience and turn us intense.
The best way to handle it is move ourselves away, breathe and slowly come back to senses.
With All These, Teach Them Not To Give Up
You might be confused now. Why should they be stubborn and adamant? Doesn’t that make it complex? Aren’t we here to find how to resolve it?
Well! It depends. In an attempt to sort out the unpleasant, we shouldn’t turn it unfair and unjust for our own kids.
When they feel that they want to play with something but the other kid isn’t ready to give in, let them be strong-willed.
In the real world, they are going to face a lot of circumstances when others can forcefully pluck things out of their hands.
And they should know how to stay determined to fight what they deserve.
Teach them to be a fighter for a reason.
Resolving conflicts in places like parks takes a sensible and matured person to draw that to end smoothly. Let us be the bigger person who will not get carried away in a moment of annoyance.
Children no matter their age have the tendency to look up to their parents especially mothers and grow. In their eyes, their mother is the coolest and wonderful person.
Let’s follow these techniques to keep us calm while giving our child valuable lessons and experiences to deal with the real world in the future.
Anger can only wreck things. A healthy dose of any emotion is fine to let out. Let’s teach them how they can evolve into an amazing and amicable human being.
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