We all experience conflict at some point or another in our lives. Sometimes it’s disastrous conflict, sometimes it’s little and to others, it seems completely insignificant…. but it means a lot to us, no?
I teach elementary school kids, young ones — kindergarten to grade 3, and I see this exemplified every single day. I’ve tried countless times to explain the difference between tattling and reporting, but I still hear the tattles every day, after each recess.
Tattling — your purpose is to get someone else in trouble. The end.
Reporting — You’re concerned for the safety of the person you’re telling about, or the safety of someone else, or you think there’s bullying going on. You’re sure someone’s going to hurt or they already have. Maybe the other person is bullying you or someone else. And lastly, maybe someone made you feel icky, and you don’t like that icky feeling. If any of these are true, go get an adult you trust right away. If they’re not, you’re probably tattling.
The other day, I was outside on yard duty. My outside duty is all with Junior/Intermediate kids (grade 4-8). Four of them came running at me, determined to tell me what the problem was. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big supporter of intervening for kids where intervention is necessary — especially in cases like I mentioned describing reporting… but when I’m not actually needed and the kids just want a quick solution, I tend to refuse to help. Like I mentioned, the other day four kids came running to me determined that I was going to fix their four square drama for them.
“Jimmy took the ball and he’s out! He said he’s not, but he is!!”
“What exactly would you like me to do for you?”
“Tell him he’s OUUUUUUT!!!!!” (whiny grade 6s are NOT my favourite thing)
“How bout this? I don’t do four square drama. Figure this out, or my solution is going to be to take the ball, and then no one can play.
“Nope, figure it out, or I’ll take the ball. Don’t tattle.”
It may seem harsh, but it’s been working for years. It normally works itself out. Either they quit caring that the kid refused to get out, or they tried fifteen times harder to make it undeniable that he was out to get him REALLY out… but whatever happens, they usually solve their own issue when it comes to the giant ball four square game.
I could have talked about my own conflict skills/lack thereof sometimes (I like to flee from conflict), but since I deal with conflict and helping resolve it on a daily basis, I thought I’d talk about that side of it for WordPress’s Daily Prompt. Haven’t we all been given those skills in some way or another, from someone or multiple people in our lives that cared about us? The adults in our lives knew when we were kids that as we grew up, we were going to need to learn how to deal with our own conflict, and you can’t just teach that. I can’t just tell a kid how to resolve a conflict. I can guide, I can give suggestions, and I can supervise, but no amount of my instruction will equal half of the skills they’ll gain from the experience of figuring it out on their own.
What were some of your experiences with learning how to deal with conflict as a kid?
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