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Question
Posted by: AB | 2009/11/04

Positive conflict management for a 5 year old

Ho do I teach my child to stand up for herself without hurting other people' s feelings, but she still set her boundaries. She is 5 years old and in a pre-primary school.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I think the approach to be taken, and the material to be taught, as regards assertiveness and conflict management will obvious vary according to a child's emotional and social age. It'd be a very good idea for such material to be included within school curricula, rather than some of the marginally relevant stuff they do get taught. But the answer would also need to be very much individualized. I think especially in a child of this age and pre-school, it'd be best for you to teach her these skills on a case-by-case basis, discussing these issues amongst other chat, and in relationship to actual examples as they arise inher relationships with others, and as advice, and in discussion of alternative choices she may face. Then one can draw generalized rules or principals from specific experiences.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2009/11/04

You are expecting a lot from a kid who won' t be able to reason abstractly for several years yet. My daughter is 7. They take everything very literally and there is no way you can really explain the nuances of social interaction to them without confusing them totally. As CS said, you to take it on a case by case basis. At the start of the year my daughter was verbally bullied and we told her to just smile and walk away. It was tough on her but it worked. At the moment I wish I could get through to her that to be socially acceptable means you must give and take. Friends don' t play with you unless you sometimes do what they want rather than what you want. But you know what? She will have to learn that by painful experience because some things you just cannot explain.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2009/11/04

I think the approach to be taken, and the material to be taught, as regards assertiveness and conflict management will obvious vary according to a child's emotional and social age. It'd be a very good idea for such material to be included within school curricula, rather than some of the marginally relevant stuff they do get taught. But the answer would also need to be very much individualized. I think especially in a child of this age and pre-school, it'd be best for you to teach her these skills on a case-by-case basis, discussing these issues amongst other chat, and in relationship to actual examples as they arise inher relationships with others, and as advice, and in discussion of alternative choices she may face. Then one can draw generalized rules or principals from specific experiences.

Reply to cybershrink

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