The tween years are fraught with tumultuous emotions and social drama. Whether it’s with parents and siblings or friends and classmates, conflict is bound to occur in your tween daughter’s life. And when it does, help guide her toward resolution with these principles from Scripture.
Go straight to the source. In conflict, it’s tempting to gossip about the offending party rather than address the issue directly with her/him. Teach your daughter that godly character involves keeping the argument confined to a safe circle—which may involve parents or teachers for the sake of safety and guidance, but does not need to involve friends or classmates on the fringe.
Make the first move. If your tween is in a fight with a sibling or friend, encourage her to take the initiative in smoothing things over. Regardless of her role in the conflict—whether she’s in the right or wrong—somebody has to step forward and begin the conversation. This follows God’s command in Romans 12:18 that says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Be humble. Proverbs 16:18 tells us, “Pride goes before destruction.” Guide your daughter to humble herself, admit her role in the conflict, and address the other person with kindness and mercy. We can waste a lot of time demanding we’re right. The question is—would you rather be right, or be made right with one another?
Remember the golden rule. A key guideline for all of us is to treat others the way we would want to be treated. This comes directly from the book of Luke, verse 7:12. So encourage your daughter that when she is in conflict with another person, she should refrain from doing anything she wouldn’t want a friend to do to her. This alone can prevent many complications and hurt feelings.
Forgive. Finally, extend forgiveness and move on. Holding a grudge is not in God’s character, and it only hurts us in the long run. We are the recipients of God’s amazing forgiveness; therefore, He wants us to spread that forgiveness to others as well. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)
Here’s an important caveat. These guidelines can help with occasional spats or frustrations, but do be aware of any persistent conflict between your tween and a classmate or peer, which might be a sign of something more severe, such as “frenemies” or bullying. Encourage your daughter to talk with you openly about her social struggles so you can keep tabs on her spiritual and relational growth in a way that encourages her to accept others while also standing up for herself in humility and love.