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Managing Conflict with Children
As part of Fight Free February, an initiative to find alternative ways to resolve conflict, CFA’s Orgainsational Wellbeing team is getting behind the cause and sharing tips with CFA members.
In addition to the regular tips and advice shared here, CFA members can go to www.fightfreefebruary.org and register their email address to receive daily conflict tips.
When dealing with children and adolescents it is common for conflicts to occur due to misunderstandings. Often what you are arguing about is not the underlying reason for the disagreement. When a child or adolescent feels pressured by issues they feel they can not easily resolve such as peer conflict or worries about school related issues they lash out where they feel safe- usually at home with their parents and siblings.
If a conflict with your child seems illogical or irrational step back before you comment/argue your point and consider whether the child might be feeling overwhelmed about issues unrelated to the illogical argument. Let your child simmer down and then approach them with an opportunity to discuss any issues that might be troubling them. For example “ Hey Joe, you seemed really angry/upset when you were talking to me about tidying your bedroom…. are you pretty stressed at the moment?”
Depending on the response it may be appropriate for you just to listen to their experience without offering advice, they may need an open ear not a lecture. If they have questions however take a moment to think about whether your answers are likely to feel supportive to your child or shut down any further conversations. If you allow your child/adolescent to express their emotions safely with you without feeling put down or lectured to, they are more likely to approach you the next time they feel overwhelmed rather than starting an argument with you.
Enjoy your parenting journey as it moves too quickly for most!