What Is Youth Conflict Resolution?

What Is Youth Conflict Resolution?

What Is Youth Conflict Resolution

Youth conflict resolution is solving young people’s problems and conflicts, these may be internal problems of relationships within a youth group, relationships between young people and those in authority, or even conflict between yourself and the young people you are working with.


Whenever two or more people interact, either as individuals or as part of a group, there is always a potential for conflict. The same is true when you are interacting with children in a workplace setting The potential for conflict is always present. You must be aware of that potential so that you can identify a conflict situation and intervene appropriately to control it.

Personnel who deal with young people face a lot of difficult situations where they could be required to help resolve youth’s conflicts and problems.


What is youth conflict?

Youth conflict is intrinsic to social life. During the course of your activity as a youth worker, it is highly likely that you will be involved in conflict situations.  Most of these scenarios can be characterized as minor incidents like, for example, the display of poor conduct by a teenager who is unable to stand up for your directions on where and when you’ll be meeting for a volleyball game. Sometimes, however, circumstances will be more serious issues, for instance, a confrontation with an individual who has been taking advantage of others. Sometimes, however, these situations will consist of much more serious matters: for example, confrontation with a group member who has been stealing from other members.


Conflict is a natural social event because humans are a diverse group with different preferences, desires, and needs. One of the benefits in conflict is the fact that it enhances our understanding of whether our actions are aimed at accepting the views of others, and whether or whether we are able to solve our disagreements with other people.


The 5 conflict process stages

1 potential for conflict

2 recognition of conflict

3 conflict-handling styles

4 conflict behavior

5 conflict outcomes.


Areas of conflict

  1. you and your work colleagues
  2. youth development practitioners as well as the organizations they are employed by and for
  3. the prevailing laws and what the young people you lead feel compelled to do.


You may also face inner mental conflict that impacts your work. The conflict between and among groups is also very natural, given that groups tend to be in positions of rivalry over relatively scarce resources: land, wealth, jobs, territory, reproductive resources, etc. Before further exploring the conflict between groups, let’s agree on what a group is.

There are various sociological perspectives of group conflict. Some commentators will accept that there is a conflict situation only when there is an open struggle such as fighting. Other require only competing claims to the scarce resources. This definition illustrates the view:

“Conflict is. A process that starts when one party feels the other party’s actions have been affected or poised to negatively affect what the first party is concerned regarding.” (Robbins et al., 1994, p. 565)


The conflict thus represents a clash of ideas, interests, values, behaviors, or the competing needs of two or more individuals or groups (who are the ‘parties’ to a dispute).  It’s not always a win-win battle as most cases of conflict arise when two or more people have the same goals but disagree on the method to achieve these goals.


One of two common themes can be found in most situations

1. the conflict occurs around tasks.

2. the conflict occurs around relationships.


These common themes will assist you to be able to recognize and managing conflict in a development context. Because you will be working in teams, it is important to recognize the two types of conflict that affect team performance, based on the themes identified above:

1 Task conflict: This type of conflict concerns disagreements over the content of the tasks being carried out – for example, differences of opinion among the young people involved in a project on how best to achieve the desired outcomes.

2 Conflicts in relationships Conflict of this type is about tensions and hostility between people, not a conflict about the work that is being accomplished.


What are the 3 youth conflict resolution steps?

  1. Conflict prevention: this is a process by which individuals and groups select from a wide range of actions, interventions, programs, activities, mechanisms, and procedures that can be used to prevent destructive and potentially violent conflict. These may be used at any stage before conflict takes place.
  2. Conflict transformation:  this is an approach whereby an issue is resolved by imagining a way to transform it into a positive and productive process.
  3. Conflict resolution:  this is a process of finding a long-lasting solution to a conflict by using the situation to address each party’s interests to the extent that both sides are satisfied with the outcome.


Researchers at the University of Melbourne argue that if we accept that a conflict situation may also create new opportunities, then we should conceptualize conflict resolution as being not only about fixing things but also about finding and capitalizing on constructive options inherent in the situation. Nevertheless, because in the context of your practice as a youth development worker, you will be encouraged to avoid or resolve conflicts, the following sections will focus mainly on ways to do this.

Most of the time, transformation of conflict and resolution of conflict can be used in conjunction with the process of conflict prevention. According to the United Nations notes, while prevention is the process of ensuring peace prior to the possibility of violence, by understanding and responding to warning signs that are early conflict transformation involves coordinating the current violence situation to make it a constructive dialogue. In some cases, you might see the words ‘conflict transformation’ or conflict resolution being used as interchangeable terms in peace literature They are both based on the same principles of trust-building and reconstruction their respective modes of application (United Nations, 2002).


By Dr. Kumar

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