Just as nature of friendship changes as children grow, so too does the nature of conflicts they face. While young children may have conflicts over toys, older children and preteens have conflicts over more complex issues.

Many conflicts among children arise from envy, jealousy, or gossip.Other conflicts may be based on emotional needs. OPlder children and preteens have need to belong. Conflicts may arise if they feel excluded from a group or if they think someone is showing them disrespect.

In general, children at this stage should be able to use words to express their anger. Those who received guidance at an earlier age on ho to deal appropriately with anger are more likely to have the necessary self control. Occasionally, however, anger can lead to aggressive behaviour.

Preteen boys are more likely than girls to use aggressive behaviour to express anger.

If a conflict looks as if it might escalate into violence, others need to intervene.

Guidelines for helping resolve differences:

Set some ground rules: Establish an agreement to work peacefully toward resolution.

Listen to both sides: Ask both people to give their side of the story, and listen carefully to what they say.

Find common ground: Find something that both people can agree on, so that they can move forward. Sometimes this is as simple as deciding to end the disagreement.

Reach a solution that is acceptable to both sides: Win - win solutions, in which both parties gain something they want, are best because both people an feel good about the resolution.

Dealing with Bullies

Bullying means directing aggression or abuse toward another person, usually someone weaker. It can take many forms, including pushing, shoving, and other physical abuse, teasing, spreading rumors, and making offensive comments. Boys are more likely to be the victim of bullies.

Bullying can cause both physical and emotional pain for victims. Unfortunately, children who are being bullied often don't tell their parents or other adults. They may fear that telling on a bully will only make the bullying worse.

Parents, teachers, and other caregivers need to be on the lookout for sings of bullying. They should suspect bullying if a child:

  • Comes home with cuts, bruises, or torn clothing.
  • Frequently "loses" lunch money and other valuables items.
  • Does not want to go to school.
  • Becomes unusually moody withdrawn, and bad tempered.
  • Is always anxious and has trouble sleeping.

An adult who suspects that a child is being bullied should question the child in a supportive way. The adult could ask how the child's day went and follow up with " What was your favourite activity as school today"? 'what was your least favourite things"?

A child who is being bullied needs to be reassured that it's not his or her fault, Emphasize that no one has the right to bully anyone else. Report the situation to a teacher, principal, or a school counsellor. Schools usually take the problems of bullying very seriously.

* Participating in a variety of activities present more opportunities to make friends.