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Lesson 7:  Make an agreement


Quote: Unless both sides win, no agreement can be permanent.


Statement: This skill teaches problem solving strategies and helps children to be less of a victim of conflict and more of a victor. Many children just focus on what they want in a problem and see only their side. Teaching them to make an agreement encourages them stop and try to see the problem from the other side, and then try to brainstorm ideas of win win options. When you teach children how to make an agreement you could be investing powerful skills into the leaders of tomorrow!


Research: According to an article in the Scientific American titled ‘How Diversity Makes Us Smarter’, by Katherine W. Phillips (2014), there has been "decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers" that recognise that solving problems with people who are different to us can be difficult. Children may have conflict with others who want different things to them, or have different perceptions, personalities, cultures and expertise etc. However, the studies identified that being able to make agreements and solve problems with diverse people builds innovation and creativity, encourages broader thinking and perceptions, and leads to better decision making and confidence in problem solving.


Tips to teach this skill at home:

1. This can sometimes be a tricky skill to teach children. A helpful question to ask is; "What do you both want and why?" Once children can establish this it can help to brainstorm ideas. Resolving conflict can be difficult if children keep blaming and dragging up what has been done in the past. Identifying what they want helps them to move on and have more fun.


2. Sometimes making an agreement can mean you don’t get everything that you want – there may have to be compromise. Something can be better than nothing. Try to find situations in the home to use as an example to teach this to children.


3. As a family, brainstorm different ideas of how you could make an agreement for the following problems; (1) Two people both want to go first on a board game. (2) A sister is on the Xbox and refuses to get off. The brother wants a turn. (3) You and your sister have to clean up your room but you don’t want to.


4. With your child, visit the BRIDGE BUILDERS Online Learning Program Lesson Seven and do some of the fun activities as a family. Validating this learning empowers your child with valuable skills to learn how to; Make an Agreement and be empowered for life!


By Jocelyne Chirnside

Empowering Life Skills