In a family with multiple children, the children naturally have frequent opportunities to learn how to handle the inevitable conflicts of life. And this with their siblings, who can't stop being their siblings. But how does the only child learn this valuable skill? When conflicts arise with his friends, of course. We are getting to an age now where I feel this is delicate ground, though. I'd hate to see the kiddo kill a good friendship by developing bad habits in conflict.
Recently we had this issue twice in the same week, with different sets of friends. The first incident involved hurt feelings, and feeling slighted. The second incident had him pouting over the friends not playing how he wanted. Well, we certainly don't want that to become a habit, do we? Its difficult enough, I think, handling tattling and squabbles between your own children. But I find it far less comfortable to handle these situations between my child and someone else's child.
I am currently looking for something to read, preferably with him, to walk us through handling a conflict with grace. Our church uses The Young Peacemaker materials for the 4th-6th grade Sunday school. But, they just did it this past year, so it will be a couple of seasons before they get around to it again. I'm hoping to find something else so that will not be old hat when his class does it. I'm looking at a couple of books. One is The Peacemaker Student Edition. Technically that is for teens. But I think if we read it together, it could get the message across. And I think I would prefer that over the cartoons of the younger version. The other book I saw recommended on a forum. It has a really lame title, but the content looks pretty good: Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining and Bad Attitudes . . . in You and Your Kids. Sounds like it will cover many areas beyond just conflict with his friends.
We are currently studying Proverbs, and that certainly covers many of the character issues like humility and pride that are involved in relationships. We can also study other passages like Matthew 18. So I think we'll start there, before we pick up any more books. But the above do look promising. I'll let you know what we come up with down the road. But I'd sure welcome any recommendations.