Why Conflict is Good for Kids

NPN RTD featureThis post is written as part of the Round Table Discussions with Natural Parent Network volunteers. In an effort to discuss, support, and promote a kinder, more gentle world, we are taking an in depth view of various books. Our current book is Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life by Dr. Laura Markham, author of  Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting. We hope you will join us with an open mind and a desire for change and growth.

Photo by Shermeee (Flickr)As parents, we want our kids to get along. For many of us, part of the thinking process behind having multiple children was that our kids would be there for one another. They would have built-in friends for life. It can be difficult to watch our children fight. There may be times when we find ourselves wondering, “Why can’t they just get along?” Life may seem like it would be easier if there wasn’t any conflict.

However, conflict itself isn’t bad. Conflict pushes us to grow, at any age. It forces us to question ourselves, our thoughts, and our actions. Conflict breeds opportunities. For children, conflict helps develop morality. By facing conflicts between their own needs and the needs of others, children learn to think about people besides themselves. They learn about right versus wrong. They learn to think about problems and also solutions. They learn to brainstorm and to communicate their viewpoints, needs, and thoughts. They learn to listen to others. They learn conflict resolution.

The goal in parenting is not to prevent or eradicate conflict. The goal is to help our children learn how navigate conflict peacefully and in appropriate ways.

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