8 Tips for Helping Your Child Resolve Conflict and Be A Good Friend

8 Tips for Helping Your Child Learn to Resolve Conflict and Be a Good Friend

As much as we try to avoid it, conflict is a normal part of life. Helping children learn to manage conflict effectively will also help them to experience more fulfilling friendships and enjoy better social experiences, both at school and outside of it. Of course, how well children are able to resolve conflict is directly related to their age, stage of development and life experiences – for example, a young child may not know how to compromise without assistance or have the emotional capacity to empathise with the needs of others. Equipping children of all ages with the strategies shared below will help them become more effective at resolving conflict and being a good friend.

8 Tips for Helping Your Child Resolve Conflict and Be A Good Friend

Help your child unlock the keys to friendship with these five conflict resolution behaviours and three important ways of practising them.

Tip #1: Learning to Manage Strong Emotions
While children have the right to feel strong emotions such as anger and frustration, it is important that they learn that yelling or being physically hurtful or intimidating does not help to resolve conflict. Helping children learn simple strategies for remaining calm, such as taking a deep breath or stopping and counting to ten is an important part of the process of effective conflict resolution.

Tip #2: Talk & Listen
Help your child to recognise the value of using words and speaking nicely to solve conflict. Work together to develop a phrase that they can say to a friend to help start the resolution process, for example, “Let’s talk about this and find a way to work together.” Learning to say how they feel and what they wish would happen, rather than attributing blame and overly focusing on the cause of the conflict, are also great skills to have.

Being a good listener is also important. Helping children learn to listen to each other can be difficult, especially when they are very young or emotionally upset, and often times when they are tired or upset trying to talk it through will not work well. In these instances, it is often best to wait until your child is calm before proceeding with any positive conflict resolution strategies.

Tip #3: Problem Solve Together to Find a Solution
Initially children will need help to navigate the process of brainstorming potential solutions together, with the aim being to find a solution that makes everyone happy. For younger children, keep the options limited and simple. For older children, remind them that everyone has the right to be heard and that no idea is a silly idea.

Tip #4: Encourage Fairness
Talk regularly with children about the benefits of being kind, being fair and sharing with others, and catch them doing the right thing as often as you can – rewarding positive examples with lots of verbal encouragement. While young children find it difficult to understand why they need to ‘take turns,’ they will often be more willing to share when encouraged to let the other child have a turn once they are done – this gives the child a sense of control over the situation and the act of sharing, rather then it being something they are being directed to do by an adult or peer.

Tip #5: When Nothing Else Works
Teach your child that it is okay to walk away when nothing else works, and that they should feel safe to come to you or another trusted adult to seek assistance resolving difficult situations.

Tip #6: Role Play Friendship-Related Scenarios
Use role play to help your child feel more comfortable employing the strategies outlined above. Taking time to actually talk through and act out potential scenarios that might develop in the playground or on a play date will help your child feel more confident to use these conflict resolution strategies as needed.

My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic

Tip #7: Encourage Imaginative Play
Imaginative play provides a powerful safe haven for children to work through overwhelming emotions, to make sense of things they have seen, heard or learned from others, and for processing social interactions, including conflicts. Having the space, time and freedom to play imaginatively, provides children with a sense of power – they feel in control, capable of figuring things out, of thinking things through and solving problems. My girls both love playing with figurines and I regularly see elements of their real life experiences re-enacted in imaginative play.

Tip #8: Host Regular Play Dates
Regular play dates provide your child with real life opportunities to develop friendships and to use the strategies included above with your support, away from the stress of the school playground or other larger group setting.



  1. Lovely tips. My daughter likes playing with her My Little Ponies. One is from when I was a child as well. The role play is just so important for learning and development.
    Kindness would best suit my daughter. She has won awards and had many comments by teachers and other parents about her empathy and kindness towards others and how she is always trying to help out those that are upset or need help. I’m proud of my empathetic, kind little girl.

  2. andreea nicolescu says:

    Laughter, being 3 that is the most valuable attribute at this age.They grow up so quickly, having fun and the power of laughter is amazing.

  3. Fabulous tips!
    As a mum of kids who struggle with this stuff this is such a useful list of ideas!
    My girls used to ADORE my little ponies… especially the mini ones! And when they decided they had grown out of them they packaged them up in a fancy box and sent them to a little girl we know who is in and out of hospital a lot. My girls thought they would be an easy thing to play with in bed, and fun to share while in hospital! It was so lovely to see my girls love them and then think of someone else who would also love them!

  4. My little girl would love playing with this! I grew up on MLP and had a great collection. I wish I knew where they were now so I could pass them on to her. I’m currently pregnant and my little girl has really taken an interest in my growing tummy. She loves talking about how the new baby is her new friend and will give me toys and things to rest against my tummy. I would have to choose ‘kindness’. 🙂

  5. sofia christopoulos says:

    It would have to be laughter. Life is just too serious and complicated. We are taught the right and wrongs things to do on a daily basis but sometimes we forget that laughter is just as important as all the rules.

  6. If I can teach her anything it would be

    Love your friends and family,
    Forgive the small things
    Laugh as much as you can
    Give even more
    Never be mean when you can be kind
    And when it all gets too hard, remember, I’ll always be here for you xx

  7. Rachel | Racheous - Lovable Learning says:

    My niece (who LOVES MLP) like many almost 5 year olds, would be best represented by Honesty. The other day she told me that she loves me but she loves me SO much when I bring lollies.

  8. Michelle King Cole Scoda says:

    Out of 6 kids I only have 1 girl an she would really love this as she is in love with my little pony

  9. What a great prize

  10. Tayiha knows each and every my little pony by name, at 5 years old I find that amazing. I believe of the five elements Tayiha is honest. She will tell it as it is, no fear or regrets, and to me this shows her innocence in life, she is well adjusted and secure in who she is, she never feels the need to be something she is not, which shows security in everything around her, all that at only 5 years old. She truley amazes me.

  11. Mary Preston says:

    I too love the magic, positive elements & innocence of My Little Pony. I am best represented by loyalty, my daughter by generosity. She has an open heart & mind that draws others to her and makes them feel valued.

  12. Nat Roberts says:

    My daughter has learned the value of friendship and sharing from her collection of My Little Ponies,she likes to tell stories with them and share those stories with friends.

  13. My daughter believes there is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow. She has seen fairies flying around the garden. True, real fairies, not made up ones. She can change cutlery into a family, a school or a swimming lesson. Her imagination is a source of constant delight and surprise. It fills her with joy that bubbles over into laughter.

  14. Dayna Dunn says:

    Generosity, my daughter 6, is very into helping those in need. We are currently moving town and she has been more the happy to give a lot of her toys and clothes to our local lifeline for those children that don’t have much.
    She has been a massive MLP fan since she was around 2. She loves them.

  15. leisa Bartlett says:

    My daughter would best be represented by kindness. She lives her MLP’s dearly and when walking downtown she saw a child who had nothing and was crying and simply handed it over and said mum she needs my pony more.. brought years to everyone’s eyes including the sales clerk who was serving me.

  16. My daughter loves My Little Ponies! I think the element of laughter applies best to my 4 year old daughter. She is learning to tell jokes at the moment and has us all in fits of laughter with her whacky little jokes. Most of the time we aren’t really sure what the jokes are about but she thinks they are absolutely hilarious. It is so much fun watching her sense of humour develop.

  17. My little girl is so generous. She is thoughtful and kind. She shares her toys, time and even party lolly-bags with her three brothers. She is all the other qualities too.

  18. For my daughter it would have to be Loyalty. Her family is everything to her. She tells us we are her best friends and even has a chant like a sports team – We’re a team We’re a team – that we have to recite.

  19. Jeanette LATTER says:

    Laughter because a laugh a day keeps the doctor away.

  20. Michelle dunk says:

    Laughter my girls are so happy when they play with my little pony toys it keeps my girls so entertained and so happy when they share and play together they love all the colours and styles

  21. My 6 year old is a big fan of MLP. I’d have to say generosity represents her best, when she takes her collection of mini ponies in to school to play with at lunch time she is often lending them out to her friends to borrow overnight.

  22. Heather Hopley says:

    Kindness. He was trying to get a dead butterfly to fly again the other day. He was talking so sweetly to it saying” you can if you try” etc. Tore at my heart strings.

  23. Narelle Rock says:

    Loyalty, my daughter will stick by her family and friends through thick and thin, not matter what they want or need she will always be there to help them out.

  24. My daughter is pony mad , she is 4 years old and already such a beautiful little girl , she’s always the first one to offer up a toy to her autistic cousin whom she has a huge connection with , she’s always the first to give me big mummy cuddles and kisses to cheer me up , she’s very loyal to her family and her mummy 🙂 , she’s always making people smile and laugh weather it be by doing a silly face or dance. She has a big heart and I am so lucky to have such a gorgeous daughter

  25. Alisha Hannah says:

    “Honesty” would definitely describe my daughter!! She is 2 years old and has come out with clangers such as “I not tired I just very cranky!!”, “You have fat belly mum” (I’m 7 months pregnant), in response to me asking her what she was up to she said “I just being naughty mum you stay there” and she loves to dob her daddy in when he forgets things “daddy left bag at daycare had to go back get it”. As we work on the saying Honesty is the best Policy in our house, I think she is definitely living our values!!

  26. Laughter, for sure! Ever since she was a baby people have said she has such an infectious laugh and now she’s started school everyone says the same thing. She is quite shy really but once she starts laughing, wow! My first thought is that I wish I could say kindness because I really value that quality, but you know what? Her laughter and sense of humour can light up a child’s eyes probably just as much as a kind word can.

  27. I would say generosity, because my daughter is always so keen to share around what she has. She rarely gets chocolate biscuits but when she is given one she’ll straight away ask her baby brother if he would like it, or offers me a bite, even though that biscuit is so precious to her! And she goes out of her way to buy rainbow loom bands in colours her friends like so she can make them special bracelets of their favourite colour, even though she is buying them out of her own pocket money. I think generally she has many great qualities, but I’ve always been happy that generosity is up there in the number one spot.

  28. my friends baby loves ponies I would say laughter as she always laughing,her laughing is infectious her face lights up the room she just makes you wish to be that young again .she is learning to share .

  29. What a great post – thank you. My son still struggles at times with this, and there are some greet tips here to help me help him. I must also say that it is so refreshing to see a sponsored post be also a ‘real’ post of great value. Fantastic and thank you.

  30. Definitely kindness. He is always so concerned when people are sick or children are crying, and gives his favourite toy to make them feel better. I love his empathy!

  31. Renee Haper says:

    My daughter believes in the magic of friendship and that being kind to others is what we should always do. She is a lot like fluttershy in that she shows kindness to her friends, family and animals all the time. Her favourite animal is a butterfly just like Fluttershy’s cutie mark 🙂

  32. tina brown says:

    i strated collecting ponies when i was 4. im still collecting now at 32. my 2 yr old daughter is slowly inheriting them(7 huge boxes full). laughter is what my daughter is. she lights up a room and finds something to laugh about 24/7. even when shes in trouble.

  33. Kindness. I think above all else kindness is the most important attribute. I have 3 kids and its something i try and teach them all the time. I dont care if they are career driven or earn lots of money when they are older. My main concern is raising 3 kids that respect and understand others and treat them with kindness. If someone is kind, irrespective of anything else, they are a good person.

  34. Our daughter is full of Laughter, she’s always giggling at something or making jokes to make us laugh. We often hear her bursting out laughing as she’s playing pretend in her bedroom or watching TV. She loves MLP and would be laughing all day if she won this prize.

  35. Such a great post! Friendship and kindness really is something that needs to be taught and modelled and encouraged. My daughter is so empathetic and her kindness really shines. It’s one of her qualitites we are constantly praising her for!
    And we’ve just hired a MLP DVD from the library so winning this would make her smile!!

  36. Dorothy Morse says:

    Laughter, honesty, true love ,smiles and cuddles , sums up the little misses in my world !
    Have 2 bdays in 6 weeks , a wonderful present they can share, as both would love this ! <3

    1. Dorothy Morse says:

      Imagination ( all the cuppa s & mud/ play dough pies , I’ve endured, lol…). And off course all the joyful mess !

  37. sandra ciccarello martin says:

    Loyalty would describe my kids to a tea

  38. Georgia Morgan says:

    My 6 year old daughter would be best described as generosity as she is always making her friends something to give them, such as drawings, cards, bracelets and charms for being her friend at school, she loves her peers and loves school. its so important for her to establish strong and be open to new friendships early on in school, so it will set her up for later in life in a positive way.

  39. My little 3 year old daughter is growing up to be a very kind loving little girl, she loves and adores her little 11 month old sister and is always wanting to play and share with her! She is always worrying if everyone else is ok and will always go out of her way yo make sure were all happy!
    She would just love this and would play with it with her little sister!

  40. My little girl is 5. I find that she shows a lot of generosity. She loves to make gifts for her friends and always shares with her brothers. She is always thinking of other peoples needs. She loves watching and playing with my little pony but only has a couple of them. She would be excited if she won a playset and would be wanting to share it with her friends.

  41. These are great tips (pinning this!)
    I have two girls who love MLP.
    Symbols for traits are a bit abstract but, if I were to give my girls Friendship Trait Cutie Marks, my 10 year old’s would be the empathy symbol. A perfect example would be recently my husband’s aunt passed away. That in itself was sad but the greatest thought my daughter had was for her grandmother and the loss she must feel at losing her sister. What it would feel like to miss spending time with her and talking to her. That wasn’t one of the listed traits I know, but I believe that the ability is vital.
    My 6 year old would have an open hand with a heart in it for generosity. She loves to share whatever it is she has. Her toys, snacks, yard, stories, time etc. For her cousin’s recent 17th birthday she drew a 100 dollar bill onto green construction paper and cut it out for him. It’s the thought that counts, right 🙂

  42. Carla Coulston says:

    My 6 year old Scarlett has most definitely earned her cutie mark in the shape of a clown face 🙂 She is the life of the party, always playing silly tricks, pulling faces and making everyone crack up – laughter would be my choice for her out of the elements of friendship. I adore that she loves My Little Ponies because I think they encourage a wonderful exploration of the child’s creativity, imagination, understanding of others and even problem solving skills as even in Ponyville, life has its ups and downs, friendships are sometimes challenged and there are choices to be made. Plus, they’re so gosh darn cute!

  43. Kristina S says:

    I couldn’t choose just one, they have all those elements and in their innocence more than any adult ive ever met

  44. Kindness because as cliché as it sounds, I believe kindness really does make the world go round.

  45. Kindness! My Miss 6 is such a little sweetheart! She would share anything with me even the last bite of her cupcake 🙂

  46. I found this a great challenge as I believe that this wonderful attributes all go together in harmony for a healthy life. But after talking to my 2 girls (now all grown up and moved on to their own lives) they both said it was the laughter in our house, which showed them loved and happiness while they were growing up.

  47. Sharon Markwell says:

    My kids have a strong loyalty to each other and their friends which is boundless. I can now see them instilling this in their own children and it is wonderful to watch.

  48. Roberto Colombi says:

    they say laughter is the best medicine and there’s no sick people around our house as it’s fun and smiles all the way in

  49. Christine says:

    Honesty. Well, if you can count being extremely blunt as being honest! 😉

  50. Mary Phillip says:

    Laughter is what represent my little girl – the first word that come to my mind when I think of my little girl. She is always happy and laughing. I hope that she will be always be happy in her life.

  51. Generosity. My 6 year old recently was rewarded for her good behaviour at school and could pick something from the prize box. She chose a toy car – for her little brother! Selfless and sweet.

  52. Kindness: A little girl in my daughters class was being laughed at. My daughter walked up to her, gave her, her bracelet, a big hug and took her hand and led her off to the playground. Was so proud!

  53. Generosity, my little girl would give away everything if she could. I have to keep stopping her! I think I’m raising a real humanitarian

  54. Generosity! My kids are so deprived of sugar at home and when my husband bought a rare block of chocolate, he gave the kids ONE square each and my daughter offered to share it with me! How sweet! Don’t worry, I declined and they ended up getting way more than one square 🙂

  55. LAUGHTER… my 20month old son is forever trying to make the whole family laugh. He gauges our responses to his actions and plays off it. Even when he was 8 months old, he would sit in his high chair and make his face turn red to make us all laugh, what a beautiful spirit he has!

  56. Loyalty, best describes my daughter, she sticks by you till then end. No matter what the adversity is, if she is your friend she will be there.

  57. Kindness, always to happy help asked or not with all friends and family

  58. Honesty is my number one priority to teach my children. Kids are going to do wrong things, they are not perfect, but if they are honest straight away and don’t lie or try and cover up and blame others, that is going to be fine with me. Honesty is the basis of a good person’s nature and morals start with this important habit. If you always tell the truth, there will be less problems than if you lie. Now, I have three little honest critters who are sometimes TOO honest!!!!! That is fine with me:)

  59. nicole larsen says:

    My daughter has a chronic illness but she still always thinks other people first

  60. Kirsten W says:

    Laughter – it’s my instant happy pill and I’m happy to a dealer!

  61. Sheena Grey says:

    Laughter! When my daughter laughs she sounds so cute! I love the sound of laughter because that equals happiness!

  62. Stacey Banks says:

    I would pick generosity for my daughter. She loves wrapping up her toys she doesn’t use anymore and gives them as gives when younger children leave from a visit to our house 🙂

  63. Amanda Gorton says:

    Laughter – if she’s not having a giggle to herself, its magically making those around her laugh too!

  64. Naomi Thomson says:

    Laughter for my two. They love to play together and make each other laugh. As a mum nothing is more beautiful than the joyful giggles of your children having a shared experience.

  65. Cheryl McKibbin says:

    Miss 7 – Honesty..not always appropriate but she tells it like it is without sugar coating..Children can get away with most things!

  66. Mary Murray says:

    Kindness is what best represents my daughter Olivia.
    She is kind to all, no matter how big or small
    To see her be so kind and dear, brings me a little tear
    A wonderful gift to me, for all the world to see.

  67. Thank you for this article! This is the first in a long time that I’ve read that has really oferred real advice where I don’t feel I’m doing everything wrong already! Such an important topic too. I feel these skills, and most importantly, empathy itself should be taught all throughout elementary school now in this world we live in with growing violence especially between young people. These skills could be life-changing.

    I grew up with My Little Pony and never valued it the way I do now, as a tool to help children learn relationships, kindness, and empathy. My youngest daughter does not have any MLP toys and this would be a beautiful starter set. Our biggest and most valuable friendship trait is both laughter and generosity. We have had a really difficult 2014 so far and laughter, whenever possible helps so much. We also love to help others in our family and friendship circle keep laughter and fun in their world through difficult times. It’s been so important for us.

    Thank you again!

  68. Amanda Manning says:

    My 4 year old daughter would be represented by ‘kindness’. Since I can remember she has always wanted to make everyone around her happy. She gave her helium ballon to a seven year old because they let theirs go and cried. She gives others her chair to make them happy. She told me once that it made her sad when she won more times at the play station games than me, although she didn’t know I was loosing on purpose.

  69. Watching my kids play together it’s easy to see the genuine loyalty they have towards one another…such a special thing to witness 🙂

  70. Laughter! Who knew a 12 month old could have such a funny sense of humour and such a sneaky twinkle in her eye…She makes me laugh everyday!!

  71. Deborah Spencer says:

    My daughter and I are honest with each other,I don’t think you could pick just one to be important, our takes all of them.kindness is another one.we sometimes make mistakes and learn to forgive and learn to so better.

  72. My daughter has a little of each of those qualities, but the best ones to describe her would be her kindness and laughter. It’s great that My Little Pony teaches all these qualities, it’s what we hope to teach our children

  73. Linda Clark says:

    Generosity is my childrens best qualities. They know the meaning of sharing and giving without hesitation

  74. Kindess – my daughter is always making sure everyone is okay. During soccer games, when team mates or the other team’s players fall down on the ground, she is always their to help them up and make sure they are okay

  75. Laughter as a house full of laughter is a happy home, even if a bit messy at times!

  76. Generousity because as any human being I love to recieve gifts and stuff it’s fun, however I believe that you will not recieve unless you give wich is why I always love to give whether it buying my sister a toy giving people money or helping people out. I love to give to anyone actually I once gave a homeless man the money I was going to use for an ice cream which was $15. I thought well I can get ice cream any other day where as this man can’t even afford a piece of gum I reminded myself how blessed I was to have what I have. I went over and gave him my money an he looked up and smiled at me. I felt great.

  77. Belinda Smetioukh says:

    Honesty…which was glaringly obvious when my 3 year old told me very loudly at the shops that my belly was big and wobbly and that I should probably take it off!! I wish!

  78. lisa thomson says:

    Honesty. A few days ago I went through the Coles checkouts you do yourself. I got to the car put the kids in and couldn’t work out why I couldn’t fold up the pram. I had a 2 litre milk underneath that costs $2. So I got the kids back out went back and paid for it and left again. My daughter aged 3 noted everything I do so you have to set good examples to your kids, even if it is $2.

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