Grades 8 & 9

How I Am

This section has students look at how they act, feel, and think. Topics covered include self-esteem, social image, decision-making skills, and personal values (what is important to each student). The activities are designed to provide students with a chance to practice decision making and to empower them to make healthy choices.

Activity 9: Conflict – Learning to Deal with it

  • Skills: Conflict management
  • Suggested Time Consideration: 30 minutes
  • Rationale

    Students might have conflicts with their parents, siblings, friends, or even internal conflicts with themselves. Internal conflicts your students experience may be the result of peer pressure and peer influence – or just wanting to fit in.

  • Getting Started

    Begin this activity by brainstorming with your students about what they think of when they hear the word “conflict.” Write their answers on the board. If there are only negative answers, ask students to consider whether having tickets to two events on the same night is a conflict. It is, but it is not necessarily negative.

    Explain to students that some conflicts can involve other people, such as a disagreement with your parents about your curfew; while others can be internal, such as feeling conflicted about how you want to settle a misunderstanding with a friend.

    Share the digital activity link and go over the tips for conflict resolution with your students. You may wish to walk through the activity together by presenting it on an interactive whiteboard. Have students take turns reading the conflict resolution tips aloud.

    Launch Activity

    Then have students read and respond to the scenarios in the “You Decide!” section, giving them time to fully digest each one. Students will be presented with a “Choices and Consequences” type of activity for each scenario, in which they will have the opportunity to select possible responses to a series of hypothetical situations. They will also have the opportunity to change their mind about their choices and try again—but remind them that this isn’t always the case in real life.

    For Scenario 5, pair or group students and ask them to come up with a skit in which they will role-play the situation. Tell them to create the skit with one of the students being particularly resistant to finding a solution.

  • Talking About It

    Open the class for discussion and have students talk about how they would manage each conflict presented in the first four “You Decide!” situations.

    Then, ask students:

    • What kind of conflicts might students encounter related to tobacco? (Students might feel pressured by friends to use tobacco. It can also cause a conflict between friends. It can also cause an internal conflict as the student being pressured tries to figure out how to handle his or her friends.)
    • What are some ways you could handle conflict if you were in this type of situation?
    • How could you handle your friends?
    • What can you to do to make yourself feel better if you have a conflict with a friend? (Encourage students to keep in mind their goals and what’s important to them if they have a conflict with a friend. For example, they should remind themselves why they chose to be tobacco free and focus on that while they resolve the conflict with their friend.)

    Have students role-play the situation in Scenario 5. Then, ask the class to discuss the skits by focusing on the questions above.

    In discussions with students, encourage them to be imaginative in devising positive resolutions to conflict. Recap what works and what doesn’t work. Discuss the role of anger in an argument and how things like raised voices can impede the resolution of a conflict.

  • Wrapping Up

    Wrap up by pointing out that the existence of conflict is not necessarily a bad thing; two people who work through their conflicts creatively and peacefully are demonstrating just how much their relationship means to them.