Kids: Get Ready for School Conflicts

Wouldn't it be awesome if you never had to worry about anyone picking on you, trying to start an argument, or even bullying you at school? School could be a happy place then. A place where everyone got along like the picture below. 

But, unfortunately things happen, and before you know it, you are butting heads with a classmate or a teacher. When that happens, what do you do?

The first thing you can do is remain calm. Remember, arguments and disagreements are part of everyday life. They can be small or big, but your reaction can either increase the fire or leave it at a low burn. Staying calm allows you not to engage in the disagreement. It also allows you to listen--really listen--to the complaint. There is always the chance that you misheard or misunderstood what the other person was saying. You can take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, and then let it out slowly. Repeat it if you need to. Calming your breathing will help you to mentally and emotionally step back from the argument. Staying calm will also help you to avoid body language that could make the other person even angrier. Things such as clenching your teeth or jaw, balling your hands into fists, crossing your arms, or leaning forward into the other person's space if you focus on remaining calm. If that does not work, then walk away.

Walking away from an angry person, a bully, or someone who is trying to intimidate you is not a coward's way out. In fact, it is just the opposite. It takes courage to walk away when you know deep down inside your heart that everyone around you would rather see a fight. But how do you walk away when someone is shouting at your face? First, step back. Make sure there is space between you and the other person. You can even tell them, "Hey, I don't want to fight about this." If the other person persists, don't trade insults or jabs, just turn and walk away slowly. This is where the real courage comes in--you need to ignore the words, threats, or even name calling that the angry person might throw your way. I know this is not an easy thing to do, but removing yourself from the conflict is a good way to stall or until you have had time to think or to get additional advice.

These are only two ways to avoid a conflict, but there are many more. Talk to your parents and ask them for additional ideas. They can help you develop an action plan if an argument occurs at school. Remember, everyone gets angry now and then. An action plan will help you know what to do when someone turns their anger on you.

Be safe. Have fun. Enjoy school.

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