Reading with children

a blog by Magic Tales

child reading

Conflict Resolution: How to Open Chapters of Conversation with Your Child

Every book tells a story, and so does every conflict. Our everyday encounters are filled with subtle and not-so-subtle plotlines of disagreements, misunderstandings, and conflicting ideas and interests. As parents, guardians, and educators, it is essential to teach our children how to read, understand and rewrite these narratives towards peaceful ending chapters.
Initiating the Conversation
The goal of conflict resolution is not necessarily to end conflict, but rather to create a safe space for healthy, respectful disagreements. The earlier we teach children about this, the better they'll be at creating this space as they grow.
Conflicts often serve as crucial plot twists in many children's books, serving as windows into these challenging but necessary conversations. Using these scenarios can be a gentle, approachable way to approach the topic. For instance, you might say, 'Remember when Peter Rabbit had a disagreement with his friends about sharing? What do you think they felt?'.
Developing Empathy
Empathy is a key character trait in conflict resolution. Encourage your child to look at the situation from different characters' perspectives in the books you read. Discuss why a character might have made certain decisions, how they felt, and what they could have done differently. Ask questions like, 'How do you think you would you feel if you were in the same situation?'
Practicing Active Listening
Just as you do when reading a book aloud to your child, encourage them to repeat back what they hear during an argument, disagreement or conflict, ensuring that each party feels understood. Active listening helps to deescalate emotions, allowing for more productive, respectful dialogue.
The Power of Sorry
Teaching children to apologize when they're wrong is a powerful tool in conflict resolution. Although it might seem like a small gesture, an apology conveys understanding, empathy, and humility. Stories featuring acts of atonement or forgiveness can provide appropriate examples to discuss.
Books offer rich, varied landscapes for teaching children about conflict resolution. They can introduce complex concepts in an engaging, digestible way, laying the groundwork for more profound discussions. So next time you sit down with your child for their bedtime story, you're not just reading with them you are also teaching them, page by page, about life's essential skills.
Remember, each child is different and may require various approaches to conversations about conflict. Be patient, because, just like us, they are learning and growing through each story.
Reading isn't just about literacy, it's about teaching empathy, understanding, and resolving conflicts- the written and the unwritten ones.

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