Developmental Asset #36: Peaceful Conflict Resolution

Peaceful conflict resolution is related to #10: Safety and #35: Resistance Skills. Adolescence is a time of change, physiologically, psychologically, and socially, and your teens are likely to face new and difficult interpersonal conflicts. For some teens, anger, frustration, and other negative emotions can lead to violent impulses. It is more important than ever to model nonviolent behaviour and constructive ways of resolving differences. Here are a few ways to do so in your own family.


  1. First and foremost, create a loving, violence-free home. If there is ever a time when you feel angry or upset enough to become physically or emotionally violent, remove yourself from the situation immediately. Leave the room. You may want to call a trusted friend or counselor, go for a walk, or visit a neighbour.


  1. Make it a rule in your family that you are allowed to leave an argument if you’re too worked up to resolve it peacefully and reasonably. You might call it a “pause button”. Revisit the issue later at an agreed-upon time.


  1. If your children (of any age) are violent with each other, e.g. hitting, hair pulling, or biting, don’t let it slide. Explain that hurting people is unacceptable, and why. Mediate an apology.


  1. Forgive each other when you make mistakes. Teach your children how to apologize, explain themselves, and listen to one another. Know when to tell your children that you’re sorry. If you’ve made a mistake, admit it openly and sincerely, and tell them you’ll try to do better in the future. Avoid giving gifts or indulgences if you’re feeling guilty.


  1. Teach your kids about Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and other nonviolent leaders as role models for peaceful resistance.


RECOMMENDED READING: Helping Teens Handle Tough Experiences: Strategies to Foster Resilience by Jill R. Nelson and Sarah Kjos.


Search Institute has identified 40 building blocks of healthy development, known as Developmental Assets, that help adolescents to grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. Visit us here every Wednesday to read about different ways that you, your family, and your community can take action to help equip our young people develop resilience and achieve success in life.