A key challenge for psychology is how to conceptualize the life problems faced by individuals in such a way as to take into account both the subjective and situated dimensions and the societal and historical character of human life. This challenge is apparent in the conflicts surrounding problems in children’s school lives. Psychological concepts are both embedded in and permeate understandings of problems at school contributing to individualization, abstraction, categorization and the displacement of problems. In this article, we suggest that a theoretical development of the concept of conflict may support the widespread endeavors to transcend such reductionism by developing contextual and dialectical understandings of problems in children’s school lives. Through a focus on conflicts, we discuss theoretical challenges in conceptualizing the dialectic relationship between historical conditions and situated interplay in concrete everyday practice. Such conceptualizations can be used to analyze connections between personal dilemmas and contradictions of social practice.