Step One: Initiating the mediation process.
The first step in approaching a conflict situation is to assume the role of mediator. Stopping the aggressive behavior, separating the combatants, and defining the problem accomplishes this. You may need to position yourself between them to help them focus on the mutual problem rather than on the object or territory they are defending. It is helpful to neutralize the object of contention by temporarily gaining control of it and assuring that the object will be safe until the conflict is resolved.
Step Two: Clarifying each child’s perspective.
Ask each child in turn to state what he or she wants from the situation. It is important to allow each child ample opportunity, without interruption, to state his or her desire. Paraphrase each child’s view to the other to ensure you correctly understand each child’s point of view and helps the children to clarify each others position.
Step Three: Summing up.
When you have gotten enough information to understand each child’s perception of the conflict, define the problem in mutual terms, implying that both children are responsible for both the problem and the solution. In other words state that there is a problem and a solution needs to be found.
Step Four: Generating alternatives.
Suggest possible solutions. Also allow each child to suggest a solution they think will work. Sometimes a child will resort to giving up. Try to explain that the process takes time or is sometimes hard and if the child still wants to walk away, let them. More opportunities will arise where that child will be involved and need conflict resolution.
Step Five: Agreeing on a solution.
Your job as the mediator is to help the children explore the possibilities that seem most acceptable to them. Continue the mediation until the possibilities have been narrowed down to a workable solution. When this occurs, identify that a solution has been achieved.
Step Six: Reinforcing the problem solving process.
The message to convey is that the process of reaching the solution is as important as the solution itself. Acknowledge the emotional investment each child had in the original conflict and the hard work involved in reaching an agreement.
Step Seven: Following through.
Help the children carry out the terms of the agreement. Remind the children what the terms are and, if necessary, physically assisting or demonstration how to comply.