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Ways to deal with conflict

Conflict can happen in any situation. Learning how to deal with it well can keep your relationships on track.

Two teen girls back to back with arms crossed

Conflict is a part of life

We all see and think about the world in different ways – this can lead to different opinions about the exact same thing

  • Conflict can make some people feel sad, upset or scared, while others may feel energised and excited by conflict
  • Conflict can impact on us physically and can cause tension in the body and loss of appetite or motivation
  • Sometimes conflict doesn’t fade away on its own and needs to be worked through and resolved

What can lead to conflict?

The way we express our needs, wants, ideas and opinions can lead to conflict with others and vice versa.

Conflict may arise because:

  • Ideas, opinions or concerns are not being heard
  • You or others feel that you aren’t being treated fairly
  • Expectations are not being met
  • There is a difference in personalities or communication styles
  • There is a difference in strongly held beliefs or opinions

How to deal with conflict

The best way to resolve a conflict is to talk to the people involved and to work towards reaching a shared understanding.

Stay calm and try not to judge, blame, get angry or defensive
Use “I” sentences and be specific eg. “I was disappointed when…”
Talk about solutions and what you would like to have happened
Pick a private location and a time that is good for everyone to talk
Try to understand and accept your own feelings about what has happened
Give yourself time and space to calm down if you feel angry or frustrated
If the situation is immediate try taking some slow breaths to calm yourself
Show you’re listening through eye contact, nodding and open body language

Dealing with conflict – why it’s worth it

If you don’t deal with conflict it can make the situation worse and lead to resentment and unhappiness.

Working out ways to deal with conflict can help keep your relationships on track now and into the future.

Increasing confidence to deal with challenging situations

Regaining a sense of happiness and achievement

Developing skills to resolve conflicts and communicate effectively

Becoming more sensitive to others' needs and trying to see their perspective

“Learning how to deal with conflict in a positive way is a skill that lasts a lifetime.” – Yvonne, Kids Helpline Counsellor

Conflict is a part of everyday life

But it can still have a big impact on us!

It isn’t always easy to find your way through a situation when there is conflict.

Kids Helpline is here to help. Give us a call, start a WebChat or send us an email.

This content was last reviewed 18/07/2018

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