You can teach your children how to resolve conflicts among themselves or with their friends and other people they know. Imagine how much better life could be for you and them.
Here are 12 key principles that young peacemakers need to learn:
1. Conflict is a slippery slope. Some children try to escape from a conflict, while others try to solve it by going on the attack. Few naturally try to work it out.
2. Conflict starts in the heart. The choices we make to get our own way are deliberate. We decide whether to be obedient or disobedient, wise or foolish, caring or unloving.
3. Choices have consequences. For good or bad, the choices we make will affect us and others. Conflict is often the consequence of a choice we have made.
4. Wise-way choices are better than my-way choices. Selfishness is not smart and will not lead to happiness. The wise way is to obey authority, make right choices, seek godly advice and respect others.
5. The blame game makes conflict worse. It doesn’t work to point the finger at someone else, cover up one’s own bad choices or make excuses.
7. The “Five A’s” can resolve conflict. These simple steps will almost always lead to peace.
8. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. By forgiving someone, we are making four promises.
9. It is never too late to start doing what's right. You can always stop doing wrong, then think about a better way and plan how to pursue it.
10. Think before you speak. Or before you act. Or before you confront someone.
11. Respectful communication is more likely to be heard. This includes the words we speak, our tone of voice and our body language (making eye contact and avoiding bad gestures, facial expressions or posture).
12. A respectful appeal can prevent conflict. Learn how to make one.
What is required of those who want to teach children to be peacemakers? We must:
show that peacemaking skills are necessary if they want to have satisfying personal relationships.
help them understand the root cause of their conflicts.
offer deliberate, systematic instruction, often by example.
provide them with a variety of appropriate social interactions so they can practice getting along with others in the midst of struggles and conflicts.
Peacemaking for Families by Ken Sande, a Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House. Copyright © 2002 by Peacemaker® Ministries. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used with permission. See also The Young Peacemaker by Corlette Sande, published by Shepherd Press. For more information on Peacemaker® Ministries visit www.Peacemaker.net.