Teach Your Children How to Resolve Conflicts With This Book

Even little ones should know how to resolve conflicts

By — on / Conflict Resolution

how to resolve conflicts

We’ve all been there. One kid wants it his way; the other wants it her way and an inevitable conflict ensues. Shouting, crying, and harsh words are often part of the mix—creating stress for everyone, including the parents who just want to know how to resolve conflicts.

While the Program on Negotiation (PON) offers numerous programs and resources for adults, there hasn’t been anything specifically targeted toward the younger generation…until now. Introducing Trouble at the Watering Hole: The Adventures of Emo and Chickie, a breakthrough book that focuses on the skills of conflict resolution; the “how” of working things out. This fun and educational book provides a foundation for kids to learn how to resolve conflicts constructively and build skills they can use to manage conflicts for the rest of their lives.

Co-authored by Gregg Relyea and Josh Weiss, Senior Fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Project and co-founder of the Global Negotiation Initiative at PON, this illustrated children’s book explores the conflict between Emo, a baby bear cub, and his best friend, a colorful bird named Chickie.

The forest animals have a problem—the watering hole isn’t big enough. They have all the usual reasons for getting more water—who is biggest, who is strongest, and who is most clever. But the animals are getting nowhere. Worse yet, they are fighting with each other, which won’t solve anything.

In this book, Emo and Chickie explore ways to work things out, positively and constructively. Together, they learn skills that can be used to resolve everyday problems without resorting to fighting; skills that everyone (even adults) can learn.

Need to brush up your own conflict resolutions skills? Then join us at Negotiation and Leadership, our flagship three-day program that’s helped tens of thousands of professionals learn how to negotiate more effectively, resolve conflicts more peacefully, and achieve better results at the bargaining table, every single time.

What is your take on how to resolve conflicts with children? Leave us a comment.

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Though just released, the book is receiving great reviews:

Praise for Trouble at the Watering Hole

“The only sensible and intelligent way of resolving differences in today’s world is through dialogue in a spirit of compromise and reconciliation. Dialogue, through which we learn to listen to other points of view, is the way to build greater trust and transparency, and is the foundation of lasting friendship. Everyone from small children up to political leaders have to understand that violence and conflict are counterproductive, that they are not a realistic way to solve our problems.

This book makes a valuable contribution to such educational efforts by imagining how animals deal with trouble round the watering hole. It is a vivid scene that children will easily understand. I congratulate the authors for their keen appreciation of the importance of finding ways to educate children so they grow up learning not to lash out at the first sign of conflict, but to approach problems more reasonably. Genuine peace and reconciliation, whether in relation to ourselves or in relation to others, comes about through taking an understanding, respectful and non-violent approach to the challenges we face.”  – The Dalai Lama

“It would be a better world if every child had the chance to learn early in life about ways to resolve conflict through cooperation. In this wonderfully simple and instructive tale for children, accompanied by a practical teacher’s guide packed with tips and exercises, Gregg Relyea and Josh Weiss make this dream possible.” – William Ury, Co-author of Getting to Yes

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10 Responses to “Teach Your Children How to Resolve Conflicts With This Book”

  • I cannot find “Teach Your Children How to Resolve Conflicts With This Book” on line or on Amazon. Any other ideas on where to find it?

    • If you click on the link in the post it will take you to Amazon where you can find the book.

  • Ann L.

    I’ve been reading this book to my 5 yo on & off for about a year now. He loves it! We talk about the importance of cooling down the way Emo & Chickie tell the animals to do before asking questions of each other and really listening. I’m not sure that he remembers to do that when conflict arises with his friends at daycare, on the playground, etc. It is quite useful to remind him of the animals when conflicts come up at home, so that he has something “concrete” (for him!) to refer back to… There is also an accompanying Parent/Teacher Manual with teaching modules and activities, each focusing on a different part of the story. It’s aimed for slightly older kids, so we haven’t really tested them out yet.

  • Annelies B.

    I’m very enthusiastic about this educational book and would like to use this program for children in the Netherlands.
    I like to come in contact with a school who already uses this lessons for children to learn how to constructively resolve problems and build skills they can use to manage conflicts for the rest of their lives.

    • Hello,
      I have forwarded your request to the author of the book, Josh Weiss, to see if he is aware of any schools using the book.

  • Glad to see this post. Thanks for sharing this Bill Ury! Preventing violence and learning how to resolve conflict equitably with dignity is at the very roots of a civilized society. Self awareness and emotional intelligence are key to noticing the violence in our minds, expressed through our language and ultimately manifest in negative behaviors. Time for profound awakening! Perhaps it’s adults who need to read this book first!

  • Gail P.

    This looks like a wonderful resource for children…they are the hope of our future for constructive conflict resolution!

    Any chance you would donate a few copies to the silent auction at our Annual BASH, the Spirit of Mediation, sponsored by the Community Dispute Settlement Center, Inc, in Cambridge. The event is October 18, 2017 at the Cambridge Innovation Center.


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