If your child participates in any sport, they will at some point encounter some aspect of conflict. Unfortunately, it is almost unavoidable. So I ask you parents out there, how do you teach your children to avoid, and resolve conflict? I suppose just like other aspects of parenting, it is best to figure out what works best for you and your child. But, I also wonder how many parents put any thought to this lesson prior to teaching it? Children learn mostly by what is modeled for them rather than what is told to them. So, parents out there, reflect on you for a moment. How do you handle and resolve conflict? When your kids are playing sports, do you yell and scream at the refs for a bad call? Do you badger your son for a missed shot? Perhaps your method is to get in the coaches face for your child not getting enough playing time. I am sure that for most of us, we have taught our children to talk out our problems and to allow others to have their say, but are we teaching by example? I challenge you to reflect on your behavior when in a conflict, sports related or not, and compare that to your child’s behavior. Are you teaching them to resolving conflict or could your methods use some fine tuning? Conflict is not fun (or shouldn’t be) in any situation, but if we learn basic skills prior to a conflict and work to put those skills into place, when encountered with a conflict, we are much more likely to portray the behavior that we have learned. I encourage you, if you are not teaching what you want your child to learn, take the time to share with them your struggle. Maybe your effort to learn a better way to resolve conflict can be learned by the both of you.
The views expressed by the authors of this blog do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Competition Not Conflict (CNC) or the University of Oregon.