Children, Youth, Families & Schools, Nebraska Center for Research on


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Kostlelnik, M., Schroeder, D., Durden, T., Warner, M., Purcell, S., Krumbach, E., Hanna, J., Nelson, M., & DeFrain, J. (2010, May). Helping Children Resolve Conflict: Pitfalls to Avoid during Conflict Mediation. NebGuide G2015. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.


Copyright University of Nebraska 2010


When using conflict mediation, children learn skills necessary to reach peaceful solutions. These skills include communication, compromise, the ability to see how different aspects of a dispute are related, and the ability to consider their own perspective as well as that of another person. At first, children need a great deal of support to proceed all the way to a negotiated settlement. As mediator, provide this support, serving as a model and instructor. As children learn problem-solving words and procedures, they become increasingly capable of solving problems by themselves. There is evidence that these childhood learnings are maintained throughout the adult years.

There are nine common mistakes adults make when mediating conflict between children. Avoid them, and you will help children develop important conflict negotiation skills.

It is important to remember that just like any other social skill, children need numerous opportunities to practice conflict resolution under the guidance of a more experienced person. When teaching conflict negotiation skills to children, be aware of and avoid possible pitfalls in the process. There are nine common mistakes adults make when mediating children’s conflict.