How To Teach Your Kids To Compromise

The art of compromise is essential in business, politics, and marriage. It’s also a crucial life skill for your child. The ability to be flexible, to take into account the wants and needs of others, and to solve problems creatively makes our children better friends, siblings, teammates and students. Of course, we’re not born with those skills. They must be learned. offers many tips for teaching children compromise skills:

  • Discuss a Variety of Issues with Your Kids. “Many children’s books, movies and tv shows, including cartoons, include some sort of conflict. This gives you a perfect opportunity to ask your child for his or her thoughts about which character was right or how a conflict might be resolved so that both characters are happy. If that is too much for your child, you can discuss the ending, explaining more thoroughly how the characters acted to make a compromise.”
  • Address the Issue of Control. “Many times, children do not like to compromise because it means they are not in control.” They suggest working through this problem with simple methods:
    • Offer easy choices like “Would you like to wear this outfit or this dress?” or “Would you like pizza or pasta for dinner tonight?”
    • Explain how you and your spouse compromise.
    • Observe how your children interact and suggest ways for them to figure out compromises on their own. If they fight over a toy, stop them and pose questions that help them reflect: “Why do you want this toy? Why does your friend want it? Is there a way you can each get at least some of what you want?” Praise them when they compromise.

Family Times has additional advice:

1) Create situations of positive interdependence – Competitive play is fine, but teamwork is more important.

2) Teach “Win-Win” – Seek solutions where all parties are successful.

3) Agree to Disagree – Sometimes a solution where everyone is satisfied is not possible. If your child knows it’s okay to not always agree with someone, they’ll be more able to find alternative solutions that avoid conflict.

4) Debate Skills – In debates, one must understand multiple sides of an issue and respond to arguments in a logical, non-emotional way. This requires self-control and can help children learn to resolve disputes peacefully.

5) Discuss Empathy and Compassion – When children understand how to view a situation from the other party’s emotional perspective, compromise is more likely.

6) Don’t Compromise Values or Safety – Let your children know when a compromise might not be the right decision.

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