The Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF) is advocating for children to be introduced to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods in order to build their emotional intelligence at an early age.
Emotional Intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage one’s emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. It encompasses four attributes – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. Building emotional intelligence and becoming emotionally healthy help to strengthen relationships across all spheres of life and is critical to productivity and goal attainment.
Speaking in a recent JIS News interview, DRF Manager for Youth Services and Administration, Cherrol Taylor, said that exposure to ADR offers several benefits for the youth.
“Whenever they’re in uncomfortable situations, they are very much aware of themselves and know how to deal with it, know how to manage their emotions. Of course, we want to create a cadre of youth who are emotionally intelligent, but we have to start from somewhere. Why not do it in the early stages of childhood?” she posited.
Mrs. Taylor said that exposing children to ADR also provides a flexible and responsive approach that addresses their individual needs.
“There is confidentiality in the process. It’s faster and definitely less costly than other options available out there. Another benefit of choosing ADR is that people have an equal opportunity to tell their stories as they see it, not how the other party wants to see it. You get to tell your story your way, and we don’t normally have that happening a lot. We don’t normally foster that level of communication with each other in order to resolve our disputes,” she pointed out.
Mrs. Taylor said that connecting children with ADR techniques can also reshape their perception on justice and help to build peace in the school and wider community.
“A lot of students would feel like they’re getting justice in how matters are handled at all levels. This translates to having students feeling much safer… and this fosters a more peaceful environment in our schools. That will spill over into the community; we’ll have that just spilling over across the board and isn’t that our number one hope? she asked.