Helping Kids Deal with Conflict


When your kids joins a summer camp, like Newtonshowcamp, for the first time, how do you find out if everything is going well with him or not? Several questions may come to your mind. “Is it the right summer camp for your kids?” “Is he getting on with his fellow campers?” “What if my kids gets into a conflict with other children in the summer camp?”

Sniffing Potential Conflicts

It is typical of parents to have these types of questions in their minds because parents cannot accompany their children to the camp to check what is going on and how their kids are getting on with other campers. In that case, what should you do as a parent?

Every evening, it is worth it to ask your child how their day went at the camp. Usually, you may get a cold response from most of the kids: “Fine,” “Nothing special,” “OK,” “As usual.” Of course, that will not help you understand how the day was. Try to ask specific questions about the event in more significant detail while probing if anything unusual happened during the day.

Some camps even provide daily videos about the children’s daily activities and how each child participated in the center, covering most of the day’s highlights. Such videos about your child’s camp activities can prove to be a good ice breaker to initiate relaxed and thoughtful conversations with your child. For example, you may start by asking, “I found out that you participated in a whole lot of activities in the camp.”

“Which activity did you enjoy the most?” “Is there anything that you did not like?” “Did you make any new friends while enjoying those fun activities?” “Who do you usually work with during those little tea breaks?” “What about that child you were chatting with who had long hair and blue eyes?” Asking such specific and intriguing questions might show your interest and curiosity. You may be anxious about your child but don’t show your anxiety too much, or the child may not be forthcoming to share the essential details.

Once you initiate the conversation and the child gets into a sharing mode instead of a defensive one, the talk will probably throw more light on unknown facts. Such discussions of even a few minutes can highlight if your child was getting on particularly well with some other children in the camp. In that case, it is good news, and you may even think of organizing the so-called “playdate.”

Similarly, if your kids was involved in a conflict with someone in the camp, it should be a cause of concern for you. Mind you, it is natural, and disagreements do happen between kids from time to time. It would be best to help your child deal with such conflicts because it is part of his growing up, and he needs to learn his boundaries. Do you know that learning to resolve disputes is an important life skill? Children need to develop such skills to cope up and understand what their limits are. While kids have unique learning methods, some strategies can tide over difficult conflict situations.

What Is The Role Of Camps In Conflict Resolution?

First and foremost, organizers should resolve any conflict arising during a camp activity at the camp itself. Reputable centers usually have ready procedures to deal with disputes occurring during camping trips. They typically resort to restorative practices allowing children to learn in the process. One of such common approaches is called TERM. Camps often use this acronym to resolve a conflict effectively as follows:

  • T = Telling The Story = You have to find out what happened.
  • E = Exploring The Harm = Was your action a wrong choice or the right one? Do you know how the other person felt because of what you did?
  • R = Repairing The Harm = How can you resolve it?
  • M = Moving Forward = What do you learn out of it? How do you plan to avoid a similar situation in the future?

Reputable camps ensure that they resolved the dispute using similar conflict resolution procedures and that both the parties have moved on without any hard feelings about each other. It is crucial to ensure that they do not keep any lingering resentments. If camps do not deal with conflicts adequately, there is a fear that differences may flare up again in the future.

How Can We Help Our Children Learn To Deal With Conflicts?

In any group activity, conflicts usually happen and may take an ugly turn if mishandled. Knowing this, discussing it with your child can help immensely. You can suggest to them how they should deal with conflicts if they arise at all. You can recommend the following pathway to help them deal with conflicts effectively with a positive bent of mind.

  1. Calm down – Tell your child to calm down if he feels angry with someone. Count to ten before reacting. Taking a deep breath will help in thinking straight.
  2. Discuss the issue – Probably the other child is not aware that he has upset you. You may tell the other person how their action made you feel.
  3. Be fair – It is possible that the other child also has a valid reason for feeling upset. You can do so by trying to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
  4. Try finding a solution – Talk it out with the other child to find ways to fix the damage and how you plan to get on with each other in the future.
  5. Take help from an adult, if required – There are times when children cannot resolve the problem independently, and the conflict gets worse. In such a scenario, the child may ask an adult for help. It is always better to walk away and seek help.

Find Out If It’s The Right Summer Camp For Your Child?

Reputable summer camps, such as, have qualified teachers who can help children practice compassion, empathy, and communication – vital elements for a positive relationship. Such well-trained staff can help to guide children through unwanted conflicts.

They let children realize that camps are fun activities that enrich experiences promoting self-esteem, independence, and respect for others. Ultimately, children should get a feeling that summer camps are a safe place to enjoy, learn new things and make life-long friends.