Sunday, 6 April 2014

Conflict Resolution

In early childhood development, conflicts that the child has with her peers are viewed as learning experiences and opportunities for social, emotional and cognitive development. According to Jean Piaget, who developed the constructivist theory of child development, children are egocentric by nature in their early years (0 to 6) and can’t think anything beyond themselves. For them everything must revolve around their needs and wants. For this reason, they often have innumerable conflicts with other children who are equally egocentric. 

At this stage the role of the adult is to support the children and help them see the other’s points of view. They are not going to start considering others’ perspectives easily as it’s simply not in their cognitive ability to do so, but the patience, empathy and support from caring adults will help them transition from egocentric stage to the social stage a little more smoothly.

The two points that need to be kept in mind while helping children resolve their conflicts are:

·      Children need to develop healthy feelings of community, satisfaction and self-esteem.
·      Children need to be given ownership, responsibility and empowerment to come up with their own solutions.

Over a few days I would relate to you vignettes from my work and observation of children and provide constructive ways of dealing with their conflicts.

Situation 1 (What would you do?)
  • G was playing by himself on the carpet with a game called ‘Pirate Ship’. He was connecting different parts of the ship and balancing the pirates on its deck.
  • D wanted to join him and wasn’t ready to wait his turn. He wanted to have all the pieces of the boat and wanted G to submit to his ways of playing which G wasn’t prepared for.
  • Seeing G playing in a way that D thought wasn’t right, he tried to pull a piece from him and both of them began shouting.
  • The piece broke into two and G started crying.

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