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Fighting Fair
Fighting Fair
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Fighting Fair

Youth

People don’t always get along or agree with one another. They may disagree with one another or have a conflict because they have different beliefs, ideas or preferences. Sometimes people just don’t understand each other’s point of view. A person could have a conflict with a friend, family member, another adult in their life or even a romantic partner. Conflicts happen, but they can usually be resolved in a fair way.

 

It is important for two people having a conflict to each share what they think and feel. This is best done by using “I” statements, meaning each person shares statements, like “I need…” or “I want….” While it is important for each person to share their wants and needs, one of the most important—and sometimes difficult—steps when people disagree with each other is to listen to each other. Listening closely helps each person understand what the other person wants and needs. Active listening includes not only paying attention to what the other person is saying, but also asking questions to make sure you understand what the other person means. Once each person has heard the other’s perspective, they can brainstorm solutions and decide the best way to resolve their problem. If they find the solution they came up with is not working, they can always talk again.

FAQs

What does “good/healthy communication” mean in a relationship?

Communication is an important part of a healthy relationship. It means being able to tell your partner how you feel, what you need, what you believe and what you want in an open and honest way, without fearing that they may have an unreasonable negative reaction. It also means listening to and understanding your partner’s feelings, needs, beliefs and desires with the same respect you would want from them.

 

It takes time and practice for two people to learn to communicate. It’s often the most difficult part of a relationship, but it can be the glue that keeps people together because it allows the relationship to keep growing through mutual respect.

What are some good ways to talk about your feelings with your friends?

A friend is someone who cares about and wants to support you. So if there’s something you want to talk about with your friend, keep in mind that your friend wants what’s best for you, even if talking about it is hard. To start the discussion, you can tell your friend that there is something you want to talk about. Find some quiet time to talk. It can help to practice what you want to say by yourself, either by writing it down or talking aloud. It can also help to talk with trusted adults who can share valuable experience or advice to help you through the situation. The bottom line is that healthy friendships include showing respect for each other and supporting each other, even though you may not always agree.

How can I be a better listener?

Listening is more than just hearing what the other person is saying. To actively listen, keep the distractions to a minimum. This means putting down your cell phone or taking out your ear buds when the other person is talking. Instead of judging the other person or thinking about what you want to say next, focus on what the other person is saying. You want to not only hear the other person but also imagine how they are feeling. This can help you understand the meaning behind what they are saying. Letting the other person know that you are trying to relate to how they feel can help them feel supported.

Parents

Conflict is inevitable in relationships, and one of the best skills parents and caregivers can help young people develop is conflict resolution. As young people mature, they can learn to fairly resolve conflicts instead of avoiding a situation that needs to be addressed, compromising their values or getting into physical altercations.

 

Conflict resolution, like any skill, requires practice, which means parents and caregivers have to be ready to support young people in attaining and using these skills. Conflicts may arise when young people deal with bullying, jealousy, gossip, differences, broken friendships and prejudices. While some young people may perceive avoiding physical conflict as a weakness, parents and caregivers can stress that being able to resolve a conflict without physically fighting or being disrespectful of the other person is a sign of great strength and maturity.

 

When young people come to parents or caregivers with a conflict, they have an opportunity to encourage young people to use their communication skills to share their wants and needs and to actively listen to the other person. Parents and caregivers can then support young people in brainstorming and working with the other person to come up with a solution to the conflict. None of this is simple, but when parents and caregivers coach young people through dealing with a conflict they are encouraging life skills that will serve their children well—now and into the future.

 

CONVERSATION STARTERS

 

Conflicts and disagreements happen between young people and their friends, and parents and caregivers have probably been supporting their children in dealing with conflict since pre-school. Below is one way to talk about conflict with your child when they are not in the throes of a heated fight with a friend:

While watching a show or movie featuring a conflict between friends or a parent and child

Point out what you see happening between the characters. Ask what your child thinks about that. You can also ask, some of the following questions:

 

  • Did they tell the other person how they feel?
  • Did they share what they want and need?
  • Did you think they are listening closely to one another?
  • Do they feel like they understand each other’s feelings, needs and beliefs?
  • Even though they don’t agree, are they being respectful of each other?
  • If you were in that situation, what would you do?

Educators

Conflict is inevitable in relationships, and one of the best skills educators can help young people develop is conflict resolution. As young people mature, they can learn to fairly resolve conflicts instead of avoiding a situation that needs to be addressed, compromising their values or getting into physical altercations.

 

Conflict resolution, like any skill, requires practice, which means educators have to be ready to support young people in attaining and using these skills. Conflicts may arise when young people deal with bullying, jealousy, gossip, differences, broken friendships and prejudices. While some young people may perceive avoiding physical conflict as a weakness, educators can make sure young people understand that being able to resolve a conflict without physically fighting or being disrespectful of the other person is a sign of great strength and maturity.

Discussion Questions

After watching the video with your class, process it using the following discussion questions:
  • What examples of conflict did you see in the video?
  • What were some examples of people clearly communicating their wants and needs?
  • What were some examples of people actively listening?
  • What were some examples of people resolving conflict?
  • What are some things you can do if you are in a conflict with another person?