Learning Activity for Grades 6 – 8
When conflict over moral and ethical issues puts stress on a friendship, the results can be very hurtful. This exercise will help kids learn and practice ways to resolve conflict with their friends while maintaining their own integrity.
Focus Scripture: Ephesians 4:32 (NRSV)
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another. God in Christ has forgiven you.”
- “Friends Have Conflict Too!” Activity Sheet (Print out and cut apart the four “Friendship Problems.”)
- “I” Statement Formula (see below) written on board or large sheet of paper.
- Paper and pencil (One set for each of four groups.)
Tips for Youth Leaders
It is not unusual for young people to have conflicts or fights with their friends. Unfortunately, they often don’t know how to handle these situations. This activity will identify some examples of friendship conflicts and “I” statement strategies for helping to resolve conflicts and still keep their friends.
Step 1. – Begin this activity by asking for anyone who has ever had a fight or conflict with a friend to raise their hand. Ask for a volunteer to give an example of a conflict between friends and how they might resolve it. Let the group know that this activity will help them find strategies to use when in a difficult situation with friends.
Step 2. – Divide the group into four small groups. With the four Friendship Problems cut apart, assign one problem to each team. One person in each group will record and report the ideas for resolving the assigned problem. Allow five minutes for the group to discuss ways to solve the problem.
Refer to the “I” Statement Formula written on the board or large paper in the front of the room. Discuss the purpose of the “I” Statement.
Have each small group report its assigned Friendship Problem resolution.
Ask someone from each group to volunteer to roleplay their problem situation using the “I” Statement Formula.
Note: You could also invite each group to replace the problem from the sheet with a situation that someone has experienced or knows about.
Step 3. – Ask the group whether they believe that the “I” Statement Formula is a good strategy for resolving conflicts with friends? If so, why? If not, why not and what would work better? Some young people are skeptical about using “I” statements and may have their own examples of how they respectfully resolve conflict with friends.
Step 4. – Conclusion.
Remind the youth how difficult it sometimes is to get along with others. It is important to remember that even when friends have disagreements or conflicts, they can learn to resolve them respectfully and remain good friends. Ask the group to give a “thumbs up” if they have successfully resolved conflict with a friend.
“I” STATEMENT FORMULA
I feel __________ when you __________ because it feels like __________. I want you to/or I want __________.
Example: “I feel hurt and angry when you leave me out at lunch and sit with someone else because it feels like you don’t care. I want to eat lunch with you tomorrow.”
Click here for Learning Activity 6 – Handout.