How to Handle Children Fighting

Minor fights are common in childhood. Your child may become involved in a fight for a variety of reasons (for example, she feels threatened; someone has taken one of her possessions; she can’t get her own way). You should try to teach your child other ways to solve conflicts, ways that don’t involve physical assault on others.

Since fights often start because two children want to play with the same toy, an effective way to avoid conflict is for both parties to reach a compromise. You can help your child develop this skill. When you see your child disagreeing with a friend over what game to play, suggest that they play one game first, then the other. Emphasize that this type of compromise is not the same as giving in, because both of them will get what they want. Tell your child this is a more sensible way to settle dis­putes. The best time for compromise is before the disagreement has escalated into a full-scale conflict.

Fights can also be avoided by discussion (this doesn’t always work, but it is certainly worth a try). Children who are unable to explain their feelings are frequently the same children who get into fights. The more a child is able to tell someone what is troubling her, then the less likely she is to fight. A child who is able to talk her way out of trouble may never have to fight her way out.

Another way your child can avoid a fight is to distract the child who threatens her. Focus the hostile child’s attention else­where. Say, “Here comes the teacher,” or, “Look at this.” This can be a very effective way to break tension. Teach your child to leave situations where she is threatened by another child. Say, «You don’t have to stick around.”

Before you suggest these alternatives to your child, however, you must first clarify your own beliefs. Some parents feel quite strongly that their child should be able to stand up for herself and retaliate when struck by others. Although this may appear to be a reasonable point of view, your young child will have a problem differentiating between fighting to protect herself and fighting to get her own way, and your older child may find her­self branded as a bully. If you do encourage your child to defend herself physically, make sure she knows when fighting is accept­able (such as when she is in danger from another child) and when it is not acceptable, such as when it is merely a way to achieve what she wants).

Filed Under: Lifestyle & Personality


About the Author: Alan Kennon lives a very happy life with two kids and a lovely wife. He likes to share his life time experiences with others about how they can improve their lifestyle and personality.

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