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Disagreements between partners, parents and children in a family is normal and natural but it’s HOW we handle conflict and disagreements that’s important!  Sometimes you can sort disagreements and flash points out quickly. At other times, it can be hard work finding solutions. Conflict can range from disagreements that you can’t sort out & can be strong verbal arguments to physical fights. Conflict can also be uncomfortable silence, anger, and hostility. Conflict happens. The important thing is how you handle it.

When we ‘talk and teach’ our kids about being kind, speaking with respect despite our differences, and working as a family ‘team’ everyone is likely to feel more positive, happy, and supported.  When your children see you working together on resolving your conflict with your partner it helps them learn valuable life skills like how to negotiate and solve problems effectively for themselves. It can also be comforting for your children to see you being optimistic about working out your differences in a respectful way.  Children are looking, learning watching and listening to us as parents ALL the time so model the behaviour you want to see in your children as they will copy you. Catch them doing something RIGHT and praise them – that really makes them feel good & their behaviour really improves!


Ask your child to close their eyes and picture traffic lights.

When the red light is on, they should take three deep breaths and think of something calming.

When the light turns yellow, it’s time to think about what to do about the problem.

(Can they handle this on their own? Do they need adult help?)

Think of two problem solving strategies that might work.

When the light turns green, choose a strategy (ask for help, go outside and run around, work on a compromise) and give that a try.

Using the red light to pause helps kids to understand the problem – then using the yellow light helps them to think of a solution- then the green light helps them take positive action.

The traffic lights help children to self-regulate or control their own behaviour – an important life skill.

Practice using the traffic lights as that helps your kids remember it.

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