Life Skills Training
Delinquency and violence are symptoms of a juvenile’s inability to handle conflict constructively. By teaching young people how to manage conflict, conflict resolution education can reduce juvenile violence in juvenile facilities, schools, and communities, while providing lifelong decision making skills. CARE’s program also combat chronic truancy and reduce the number of suspensions and disciplinary referrals. Reducing staff time spent on discipline and enhancing the self-esteem of participants are additional benefits. Conflict resolution education teaches the skills needed to engage in creative problem solving. Parties of disputes learn to identify their interests, express their views, and seek mutually acceptable solutions. CARE’s program is mostly effective when we involve the families, schools, police and community. If we can only integrate our program into the institutional management practices and the educational curriculum, and are linked to family and community mediation initiatives, we would have less violence.
All too often, small incidents and minor disagreements can lead to serious violence among youth. Unfortunately, many youth believe that when a conflict or disagreement arises, they have no choice but to resort to violence. While conflicts and disagreements are an inevitable part of life, they do not have to lead to violence.
CARE ‘s Conflict Resolution instructors are licensed and certified with years of experience.
Conflict Resolution Training Outline
- Set the stage. Agree to try to work together to find a solution peacefully, and establish ground.
- Gather perspectives. Each person describes the dispute from his or her perspective, without interruption.
- Find common interests. Establish which facts and issues all participants agree on and determine why different issues are important to each person. Identify common interests, which can be as simple as a mutual desire to resolve the problem without resorting to violence or a shared need to save face.
- Create options. Take time for each youth to brainstorm about possible solutions to the problem. Come up with a list of options without immediately judging them or feeling committed to them. Try to think of solutions where both people gain something-think win win!
- Evaluate options. After a number of options are suggested, each youth discusses his or her feelings about each of the proposed solutions. Participants will negotiate and often will need to compromise in order to reach a conclusion that is acceptable to both. They may need to agree to disagree about some issues to reach an understanding.
- Create an agreement. The youth involved explicitly state their agreement and may even want to write it down. If necessary, they set up a time to check back to see how the agreement is working. When youth use such an approach to resolve conflicts and disagreements, they often find that conflicts don’t have to be avoided, nor do they necessarily lead to violence. Conflict can actually be a positive force in their lives; it can provide youth with an opportunity to take a close look at themselves and their attitudes and beliefs. If resolved positively, conflicts can actually help strengthen relationships and build greater understanding.