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CONFLICT CARDS

Conflict cards offer ideas for dealing with conflict constructively

What are the ways we can deal
with conflict? There tend to be three general approaches: avoidance (pretending it doesn't exist); confrontation (threats; physical, verbal, psychological violence); and problem-solving (i.e. negotiation, a dialogue between two or more people in order to arrive at an agreement that meets the needs of everyone who is involved). The first two approaches are destructive, while the last one is constructive.

Each of the twenty conflict cards has ideas for resolving a conflict constructively by focusing on problem-solving. The ideas are applicable for use anywhere -- in families, at school, in the workplace.

Discuss each card. What does it mean? When might using the idea be most appropriate or helpful? Most of us use different techniques in different situations and with different people -- parents, children, siblings, spouse, friends, peers, people you don't know well, members of other racial/religious groups, protestors, people in authority positions or above you in status, people below you in status.

The conflict cards are reminders and inspiration for resolving conflicts. Practice using the cards with some imaginary situations or real-life situations you've experienced in the past. Using the cards, come up with a constructive outcome?

The next time you're trying to resolve a real conflict, shuffle the conflict cards and, without looking, pull out one card. Does the idea help you resolve the conflict? If not, pull out another card. Another option is to spread out all the cards in front of you and pick up all those cards that give you ideas for resolving the conflict.

A final note: It's always helpful to have a ritual at the end of resolving a conflict that signals the resolution and makes everyone feel good about it. Shaking hands is a common ritual.

© SV Bosak, www.legacyproject.org

Materials
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Conflict Cards

Conflict Cards
  (PDF requires
  Adobe Acrobat)
  (photocopy the
  20 cards onto
  heavy paper and
  cut them out)

Connections
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Schools (family/life
  studies; language
  arts)
Families
Youth groups

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