The Nature of Children's Conflict Resolution Styles

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Conflict is an integral part of human relationships. As defined by The University English Dictionary conflict denotes a struggle, a clashing of views or statements, a meeting in opposition or antagonism. The position taken in the present study is that a conflict consists of an opposition between two individuals “when one person does something to which a second person objects” (Hay, 1984, p.2). This particular outlook is consistent with that adopted by Kagan, Knight & Martinez-Romero (1982) in their study of children's conflict resolution styles. Paradoxically, while conflict may be an important aspect of human relations, conflict as evidenced in children's relations has received scant attention. Research has identified possible sex differences in children's conflict with boys engaging in more direct conflict than girls (Miller, Danaher & Forbes, 1986; Shantz, 1986). Boys do appear to use different conflict resolution strategies (namely more threats and physical force as opposed to negotiation) than girls (Miller et al, 1981). Some evidence also exists that there are developmental changes in children's conflict resolution strategies such that from 5 to 9 years there is an increasing use of a reconciliation conflict resolution style (Aboud, 1981).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-11
JournalChildren Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1990


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