What is Conflict?
Conflict means different things to different people and there are various types of conflict. In basic terms conflict is a serious disagreement or argument.
Conflict usually happens between people when they have different opinions on things. A conflict can happen between two people or between groups of people, for example between you and your best friend, or within a group of children playing a game.
You might have had a fight or argument with a sibling or a friend at one time, that’s normal. What is most important is that you resolve the problem and become friends again.
This is usually between two people, most often from a mutual dislike or personality clash. For example, an argument with an opponent on the football field after they tackled you. Adults at home can have lots of personal conflicts, sometimes over small things such as housework which can be resolved easily, or bigger family problems which can be more difficult and take longer to resolve.
‘The Troubles’ was an example of local conflict in Northern Ireland during the late 20th century. The conflict began between the Catholic/nationalist minority, the Protestant/unionist government and the police force. Peace Walls were built to keep communities apart in some cities, and it was described sometimes as a ‘low level war'. Around 3,500 people lost their lives during this time. Northern Ireland is still going through a process of ‘making up’ (reconciliation) since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998.
National and international conflict
This is when one part of a nation conflicts with another part of the same nation or another nation over social, political or economic power.
For example: World War Two, the Vietnam War or recent conflicts in the Middle East.
Have you had any of these conflicts?
‘Conflict resolution’ is a way for people to find a peaceful solution to a disagreement among themselves. The disagreement may be personal, financial, political, or emotional.
When a dispute arises, often the best thing is negotiation to resolve the disagreement.
Negotiation: this means to work out a solution that everyone agrees with.
When you negotiate with a friend you will understand more about their ideas, beliefs, and backgrounds which may be different from your own. In order to resolve a conflict, you'll need to look at things from their point of view.
Can you think of a time when you had to negotiate with a friend?
You might negotiate over who takes a penalty kick, who bats first in rounders, or who sits beside who on the bus on a school trip. We all have to negotiate at times and ensure everyone feels valued and fairly treated.