Conflict skills for young people

Conflict is a part of life. Your son or daughter will have to deal with conflict at different stages throughout their lives.

Learning how to deal with conflict as early as possible is a great skill for a young person to develop.

As a parent, you’ve a lot to teach a young person about dealing with conflict and when it can and can’t be avoided. Here are some tips to impart:

Teaching conflict resolution

Conflict tends to occur because of a particular issue, not because of a person. Explain to your son or daughter if they’re in a disagreement with someone, don’t make it personal.

Develop listening skills

Learn to take a beat and listen to the other person. Show them respect and really listen.

Assert yourself

You have every right to put your views forward confidently and calmly. Aggression is not acceptable and you don’t have to be passive.

Learn to negotiate

Negotiating is a life skill. Approaching a situation of conflict calmly, confidently and willing to listen in a respectful creates a pathway to being able to negotiate.

Keep it current

Try and keep to the matter at hand. Don’t drag up previous events as this can make things worse.

Don’t sulk

The silent treatment doesn’t work with anyone and can be as bad as getting aggressive. It won’t help coming to a solution, so talk it out. Having said that, if you’re feeling a situation is getting heated to take control and take time out.

Be understanding

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Don’t get defensive and analyze the situation.

Apologise when you need to

Learn to say sorry when you are wrong, and accept it. It takes a strong person to admit when they’re wrong, so admitting it and apologising will settle things quickly.

CAO applications

The deadline for CAO applications this year is Wednesday, 1 February and it is fast approaching.

Recent reports of the the high drop out rate after first year college highlight what a big decision picking the right course is in the first place.

Doing the research

If your son or daughter has no ideas and doesn’t know where to start, give them a hand and try to work together. It is ultimately best for everyone involved if you make an informed decision together.

Some things to help:

  • Dedicate time to do the research. Try not to multi-task with things like watching TV or cooking dinner.
  • Little and often is always advised over leaving it to one marathon session. Try to spend no more than about 50 minutes researching, while having frequent sessions.
  • Brain-storm thoughts and concerns together before you start reading anything. Take nterests, ability, costs, locations all into account.
  • Use a list from your brain-storming create lists or goals of exactly what you’re trying to find/understand from each session of research.
  • Seek advice if you’re stuck, contact guidance counsellors, admissions departments or course faculties. If they don’t have an answer they might know where you can find it.
  • Stay calm and keep a cool head. Communicate well, no matter how frustrating something seems and aim to reach a solution for this.

There’s still time

If comes to a case where they aren’t entirely sure of the choices they’re putting down now, it’s not set in stone. Once they’ve actually applied to the CAO for courses, there’s an opportunity to change their mind.

The most important thing for now, if they do want to go straight into third-level this September, is to make an initial application. Besides, most people could think forever and still not be entirely sure of what they want to do.

Helping young people deal with anxiety

More and more young people are reporting levels of anxiety that’s interfering with their daily lives.

While anxiety is a normal emotional response to stressful situations, it becomes a problem when it’s getting in the way of day-to-day activities. If your son or daughter is experiencing feelings of anxiety here are some things that you can encourage them to do to help.

Make sure to try to model these behaviours as well. Often as a parent, what you do can be more effective than what you say.

Getting enough sleep

The importance of sleep cannot be over estimated and teens need more than the rest of us. Find out how much sleep is actually necessary.

Regular, quality sleep makes sure we don’t get overly anxious about things. When actually experiencing anxiety and stress our bodies and minds need more sleep and rest.

Encourage proper relaxation

Find ways to relax and switch off. If you take your stresses and worries into the home your children will pick up on that. Read more on relaxation.

Make sure to work out something that gives your mind a break from anxiety-inducing thoughts and encourage your son or daughter to do the same.

Avoid stimulants

Limit intake of alcohol, caffeine and energy drinks which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.

They interfere with mood regulation and can be a bad habit.

Exercise regularly

It is very easy for everyone to get in from school, college and work, after a commute and just flake out for the evening.

If there’s no time for exercise in the evenings, encourage at lunch breaks. Monitor the difference it can make. Also while there are short days, getting out in what daylight there is is important.

Keep talking

Regular communication can help you work out what’s going on for your son or daughter and just keep up-to-date with their lives. This can help them voice thoughts they’re having, as well as building trust between you.

Have a laugh

Having a good laugh and being social can really help alleviate feelings of stress.

Do something regularly that’s enjoyable as a family, or just you and your son or daughter. It can be easy to get bogged down in a routine, but make sure you spend enjoyable time together.


Has your son or daughter got particularly high standards for themselves? A common criticism nowadays is that we don’t teach young people the importance of failure.

We are all a product of our failures and success, so be open in discussing this with your son or daughter, encouraging them to learn from their experiences and move on from them.

Inform yourself about anxiety

Learn more about anxiety in young people.


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