Conflict resolution strategies used by grade four children in a primary school in the Umlazi District.
Maharaj, Clara Olive.
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Children all over the world struggle to deal with conflict in their lives. The adults they come into contact with and the media often provide poor role models. Intervention through education and training may provide teenagers with better coping skills. In order to intervene, the strategies that children use to resolve conflict and the reasons why they use them should be understood. This understanding would provide the groundwork for any intervention or prevention programme. In this study rich qualitative data were produced to answer the following two key questions: 1. What are the ways in which Grade four children resolve conflict in their lives? 2. Why do Grade four children resolve conflict in the ways that they do? This case study was conducted in a primary school in the Umlazi District of Durban, South Africa. FGDs, semi-structured one-on-one in-depth interviews and document analysis were used to gather data from a sample of six Grade four children. The results revealed that the most popular strategies used to resolve conflict were avoidance, seeking support, verbal strategies and fleeing. Submission, use of violence and crying were also among the strategies used. Proving oneself, escapism and teaching the other person a lesson were the least-used strategies. Social learning theory framed this study, and the sociocultural context strongly affected the manner in which the children dealt with conflict. Other influences in various combinations which affected the children’s choice of conflict resolution strategies were personality, education and training, cognitive development and support structures.This study recommends that through education and training children should be guided to discover, create and choose conflict resolution strategies that are healthy, constructive and that lead to their own well-being as well as to the well-being of others.