Dealing With Conflicts at Young Age

Annie Pfeifer:

Kids don’t live in a bubble, so why do we try to shelter them from conflict? One of the earliest lessons you learn at school is about the boundless cruelty of other children. And that bullies can win. Yet contrary to these early playground lessons in realpolitik, children are consistently taught to avoid conflict by well-meaning parents, teachers and caregivers because that’s how we want the world to work. We raise our children in gilded playpens, shielding them from criticism and alternative views.

Mr. Trump has convinced me to give my daughter some tough love. To expose her to critical opinions, to make her listen to views she might not like or agree with. I don’t want her to lose it when somebody like Donald Trump is elected. More than anything, I want her to be able to defend herself and fight back.

I want my daughter to learn to say no confidently and unapologetically. Dealing with conflict is also about standing up for yourself as a woman, whether a man is talking over you at a meeting or trying to engage in unwanted sexual behavior. If we learn early how to have difficult or uncomfortable conversations up front, we don’t need others to fill in the gaps, make our decisions or read our minds. But if we can’t stand up to conflict, we risk becoming the snowflakes that the Donald Trumps and the wagging tongues on the right make us out to be.

Great parenting advice. I need to have this uncomfortable conversation with the parents. We need to backoff and let the kids work out their conflicts. They are old enough now to communicate on their own without our intervention. As parents, we tend to be emotional when our kids cry even for nothing critical.