All families have to solve problems at one time or another. In fact it happens so frequently that it’s surprising there aren’t more well known methods for solving conflict. Most families approach it spontaneously and make it up as they go along. This can work well for many. However sometimes, especially when children may have behaviours that are causing lots of problems for families, using a planned method of problem solving can really help reduce and resolve conflict.

This method of problem solving has clear steps that can be used to work with your child to resolve issues. This method will work best with children who are around 7 years and older.

  1. Talk about the child’s feelings and needs. What is the child feeling about the issue? What does she/he want to happen? What does he/she need for a successful resolution?
  2. Talk about the parent’s feelings and needs. What are the parents feeling about the issue? What to they want to happen? What to they need for a successful resolution?
  3. Brainstorm together to find a mutually agreeable solution. 
  4. Write down all the ideas, without evaluating them. Don’t discard any ideas, even if they seem unrealistic.
  5. Decide which ideas you like and which ones you don’t like, and make a plan to follow. Bare in mind both parties may need to compromise a bit to reach something that everyone agrees on.

Next time a conflict arises, why not have a try using the method above? It’s a good idea to start with something that isn’t too problematic, so everyone can practice without high emotion.

If you think your child needs treatment, please contact Play Therapy Melbourne to discuss how we can help you.

Play Therapy Melbourne has child psychologists and counsellors who specialise in child counselling across Melbourne, including Eltham.


Ray, D. (2011). Advanced play therapy: Essential conditions, knowledge and skills for child practice. NY, New York, Routledge.