Life Skill Lessons for Kids: Learning to Fight Fair

As much as you’d love to believe that kids can get along all the time, the reality is that they’ll fight. This goes for adults, too, of course. If it didn’t, there wouldn’t be wars in the world, but unfortunately, people have the tendency to clash from time to time.

One of the best things about being human are the abilities to think and feel. Add to that, each individual is unique. Everyone brings their own personality, style, preferences, and experiences to every new event and discussion.

When you think about people that way, it’s easy to understand why there might be disagreements at least once in a while.

It’s important to recognize that there’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with another person. Sometimes the best ideas and solutions to problems come about specifically because there are different opinions in any given situation.

Most people have a dialogue and compare their ideas, “piggy backing” onto someone else’s idea. The end result may be sort of hybrid of numerous ideas or it may be something entirely new and different.

This is the benefit to having disagreements.

Unfortunately, disagreements can result in fights rather than productive problem solving. The fights can range from a minor tiff between friends to all-out war between nations that threatens human life.

With that in mind, a great life skill to develop is a way to be okay with disagreements without them escalating into a fight if possible. Being okay with disagreements means being capable of expressing your opinions and being able to listen to the opinions of others. Sometimes this’ll feel a little uncomfortable, especially when your ideas or opinions are very different from those around you.

Being able to listen to others and consider more than your own side in a situation is basic diplomacy. Being able to calmly express your views and facts can help another person understand your position. It may be that they never thought of it your way or they were missing some crucial information. The flip side can also happen — you may learn something that broadens your view and leads you to change your mind.

Typically, it’s not about trying to convince someone that their idea is wrong or that yours is better. It’s also not about just giving up and letting someone push their views on you.  If possible, it’s great to come to a “win-win” resolution where there’s a consensus.

When a consensus isn’t possible, some give and take may be required, which will result in a compromise.  The compromise will give each party some of what they want, but not everything. The goal is to get what’s most important and have everyone involved be willing to let go of some other things that are less important.

These agreements aren’t always easy to come to. They can take a lot of time, energy, and restraint. Success requires that all sides are committed to it. When one side digs their heels in, it’s extremely difficult to come to any sort of agreement.

While reaching a consensus or even a compromise is a great goal, it isn’t always possible. It can be even more challenging when dealing with the people you’re closest to, as odd as that may sound. You know each other’s “hot buttons,” and it can be easy to slip into a pattern that makes coming to any sort of agreement difficult. Because you feel safe with your closest friends and family members, you’ll likely act in ways and say things, that you wouldn’t say to a classmate, colleague, or other acquaintance.

This is a reason why it’s a good idea to learn how to fight fair. The time to practice this skill is either before a disagreement escalates or after there’s been time to cool off after a fight. Roleplaying with a mediator, whether that’s a parent, another adult, or even a professional, can be helpful for your kids.

The entire family can learn the skills needed to fight fairly and to practice a little diplomacy at home. When that happens, you’ll be amazed at how the family feuding decreases. It probably won’t happen overnight, but with commitment and practice, your family can be at peace, carrying these skills into their schools and work lives.

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