I love the sound of little girl giggles. They permeate my house for most of the summer. Including my girls, we have six girls who live in the neighborhood, and we have an open-door policy at our house. My girls' friends are welcome almost any time. During the summer that means that there are kids in and out of my house almost constantly, which means there are plenty of little girl giggles all summer long.
Unfortunately, there are also plenty of little girl fights, as well. With six girls, several with strong personalities, disagreements are inevitable. Someone often feels left out or put upon by the others. A lot of times, it's five against one or four against two. These disagreements can often end with one child in tears or another stomping off to go home, neither of which are healthy responses to conflict.
God doesn't want us or our kids to live in a state of constant conflict. He wants us to live at peace with others. Romans 12:18 says "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Conflict is inevitable in life. It's up to us to teach our kids healthy ways to deal with conflict.
This summer, I'm taking the six girls in my neighborhood throught The Young Peacemaker series. This collection of 12 pamphlet-style books walks kids through the steps for resolving conflict. It looks at wrong responses to conflict and points kids in the right direction. It talks about the motives behind conflict and good ways to resolve it. And it does all this in a comic-book style format that is engaging, fun and biblically based.
I've read a lot of books on parenting and spent a lot of time looking at resources to use with your kids. This is the best resource I've found for teaching kids to deal with conflict. If you're looking for a curriculum to use with your own kids or with a group of kids, check out The Young Peacemaker.
We're about halfway through the 12 books, and I've already seen results. Instead of stomping off or getting mad, the girls in my neighborhood are learning to work through their conflicts. They're much more likely to create a compromise or get help solving an issue now than they were six weeks ago. Just the other day, I saw them respectfully work out a disagreement that just weeks before would have resulted in tears and drama.
We still have some of the drama (it's nearly impossible to avoid with that many girls around), but The Young Peacemaker is teaching these girls powerful tools that make conflict something to be dealt with, not something that will drive a wedge and break up friendships.