This method of conflict resolution will help your children not only stop, but resolve disagreements, arguments and fights among themselves. There are five elements to this method that make up the acronym S.T.A.L.L. Let’s look at each element individually. You can download a printable poster here. Make sure you print one copy for each child to have for reference.
S – Stop. The first step is for your children to stop whatever they are doing. They need to stop yelling, stop hitting, stop arguing. This is an essential step towards resolution. But just stopping what they are doing won’t teach them anything. If you send your kids to their rooms every time they argue, you will be stopping the immediate behavior but not equipping them to handle future behaviors.
T – Take turns. It is essential that only one person talks at a time. Children cannot interrupt or talk over each other as this will derail any efforts at conflict resolution. For some kids a physical object passed back and forth can be a tactile reminder as to whose turn it is.
A – Accept other views. This is another essential component to conflict resolution. If you had 20 people observe the same event, you would likely have 20 different impressions of what happened. Perceptions differ. Understanding this at an early age facilitates empathy and tolerance. Emphasize to the children that they need not agree with these varying viewpoints, but they need to accept the fact that they exist.
L – Listen. Genuine listening is active, not passive. Children need to learn how to listen while another person speaks, not simply wait for their turn to come next. They can show mastery of this by repeating back, in their own words, what they think they heard before they get to say what is on their mind.
L – show Love. Above all else, conflict resolution needs to be overseen by love. Even if your children can’t come to an agreement on the issue at hand, they can identify how they could show love in this situation. It is possible that, even after all these efforts, one child still feels that they have been wronged. They can show love by forgiving and forgetting the offense. The other child can show love by apologizing for being hurtful, even if they feel they were hurt first. It is not a matter of proving right or wrong, but one of treating others as you would like to be treated.
To learn how you can best implement this program with your children, click here.
Photo credit: phaewilk from morguefile.com