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Conflict Resolution For Teenagers

 

Definition Of Conflict

What is conflict? It is disagreement or clash of opinion between people. Conflict is a normal part of life for everyone no matter what age they are. It may occur in any situation i.e. home, school or in society. Conflict may be positive e.g. a debate or negative e.g. a fight. As long as the conflict does not involve any physical harm to anyone, teenagers need to know it is alright to express how you feel to other people.

Teenagers are prone to get into arguments, and may have conflicts among peers and also with their own family members. Teenagers may get angry over small things and lose their temper and end up in fights. However they will often quickly forget their angry feelings and and may behave as usual after a short period of time. Nevertheless, there is still a chance that a simple conflict could become a big fight at this age. This is because teenagers have less control of emotions like fear and anger, and may feel that they will lose face if they don’t fight.

Common Conflict Situations In Teenagers

    • Bullying
      Being bullied may be a cause for conflict in a teenager. The teen may be bullied by verbal and physical threats and even by cyber-bullying where the teen’s peers may post unkind comments in social network sites. Bullying may cause low self esteem and some teenagers may retaliate in a negative manner.

 

    • Gossip
      Gossip can cause a lot of problems for the teenager. Teenagers who spread gossip about another teen can cause hurt feelings, feelings of low self-esteem and may even lead to anger and violence. Teenagers must learn not to spread gossip about others and in some cases a go-between may be needed to defuse the situation.

 

    • Poor anger management
      Many teenagers have problem managing their anger. They need to identify triggers for their anger. Triggers are words or actions that immediately cause an angry or other emotional response. Examples of triggers can consist of a teenager getting mocked or scolded or even simple things like being pushed unintentionally. Teenagers may take out their anger on others through shoving, punching and hitting. Teenagers can learn how to manage their anger through learning to recognize the triggers. By identifying the triggers that make them angry , they may be able to avoid more conflict through fighting.

 

  • Parent-Child Conflict
    Parent-child conflict may arise when children become more independent. Conflicts may arise from areas such as homework/grades, chores, house rules, amount of freedom, talking back, pocket money and recreation/social matters. Parents need to learn to manage the conflict with the child so it does not get worse. During a parent-child conflict parents should avoid a power struggle with the teen. If the teenager gets worked up in a disagreement, the parent should suggest taking a break from the discussion and returning to it later.

 

Effects of Conflict

  • Teenagers can end up in fights if the conflict is not resolved
  • Ignoring the conflict may also have serious consequences
  • A conflict that is managed well can result in better understanding of other people’s viewpoints

Negative effects of conflict

  • Problems not improving
  • Feelings of anger and resentfulness
  • Stress
  • Causes problem in relationship with friends and family
  • Violence

Positive effects of resolving conflict

  • Improved self esteem
  • Better relationship with other people
  • Feeling that you have achieved something
  • Feeling more positive emotionally

Conflict Resolution

Obviously it is better to resolve a conflict rather than allowing it to fester and worsen. Skills to resolve conflict are important in everyday life and can be learnt. Some of the most important skills are:

    • Understand and Control Your Feelings

 

      It is important for teenagers to understand what triggers their unpleasant feelings so they can learn to control them. It is important not to let their emotions rule their mind and make them behave in negative ways.

 

    • Sit Down Together

 

      Find a neutral place and sit down to talk things through. All parties must agree to work together to resolve the issue and agree to ground rules e.g. no name calling, insults or blaming.

 

    • Stick To The Topic

 

      Stick to the main problem when discussing a conflict with someone. Bringing up things that happened in the past may provoke anger in the other person. This will cause the original argument to go unresolved and may even worsen the situation.

 

    • Listen to the Other Person

 

      Allow the other person be it a friend or a family member to talk about their feelings first. Pay attention to what the other person is saying and acknowledge their feelings.

 

    • Be Frank and Open

 

      Tell the other person how you feel about the whole thing. Be open about what is bothering you and be polite but firm.

 

    • Come Up With Solutions

 

      Try to think of creative solutions to a conflict. Discuss the options and allow all parties involved to voice their opinions. Negotiate and compromise in order to reach a conclusion that is acceptable to all. Everyone will have to verbally state their agreement to the solution.

 

    • If All Else fails, Get Someone To Help

 

      If the people involved can’t come to an agreement, then a neutral person may help mediate a solution.

 

  • COMMUNICATION SKILLS Communication skills are important when handling conflict. When faced with an angry or confrontational person:
    • Try to make yourself look and feel relaxed, keep your voice calm.
    • Use “I” statements—statements about how you feel, rather than making “you” statements which makes the other person feel blamed. E.g. “I feel frustrated that I can’t get my point across” rather than” You never listen to what I say”
    • Ask politely for what you want, don’t make demands
    • Don’t nag and repeat your point over and over, just state how you feel once in a firm and clear manner.

References

  1. Making Peace – Tips on Conflict Management. NATIONAL CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL USA http://www.ncpc.org/resources/files/pdf/conflict-resolution/making_peace.pdf
  2. Women’s and Children’s Health Network http://cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=243&np=291&id=2183

 

Last Reviewed : 4 May 2013
Writer : Dr. Eni Rahaiza Bt. Muhd Ramli