How do you help your children respond appropriately to unkind behavior and deal with conflicts?
I am assuming this question is referring to conflicts with friends and not siblings, although the conflicts aren't too much different. In fact, in most cases if we all treated each other like friends instead of siblings, we would all be much nicer to each other. For some reason, most people treat strangers, and friends way better than family. This is sad, but unfortunately true for many people. I am trying to change this in my home.
Conflicts among friends will inevidably come up from time to time. The very best skill parents can teach their children to deal with friend conflicts, is Disagreeing Appropriately. The same steps apply to all relationships, not just the parent/child relationship. (See the Four Basics category at the right of the screen.) Being able to accept a no answer from friends as well as parents is also important.
If disagreeing appropriately doesn't work with a friend for whatever reason, the youth can be taught to respond with, "OH or OK" to negative comments or teasing. I teach them to say nothing more. It is best to not give your attacker any fuel for more attacks. Anyone can learn how to dominate a conversation or situation. ONLY TEACH THIS WHEN ABSOLUTELY NECCESSARY! I learned that agreeing with an attacker often shuts them up, after that approach, I pretend to be having a great time where ever I am. I talk to other people and disregard the attacker. If I am alone with the attacker, I simply leave. I know that it is not worth my time to talk to a volatile person, so I choose to keep my pearls instead of casting them before swine. Again, this last paragraph is only for cases of extreme bullying or social chaos when appropriate communication skills have already been tried first.