Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Shake it Off

Balance seems to be a key to parenting that I don't always get.  The scale swings a little too far in one direction and we work to even things out hoping that we're doing the right thing. Chris and I both pride ourselves on how polite the minions are.  They share, they're kind and sensitive and already there are times that this completely bites both of them.  Recent events and themes that keep recurring have made it clear to me that it's time to teach both kids a little bit about conflict resolution.

Because conflict resolution is something that many still struggle with the nuances of as adults, it's no wonder that in the black and white world of a toddler, these lessons are difficult to get across clearly and succinctly in a way that Molly and Jack can practice in real life.

sleeping toddlers
A quiet sleep after collectively destroying the nursery, together.

The Scenario: The minions aren't getting along and having trouble sharing.  One of them (Molly, it's always Molly) comes to me to tell me that Jack took her toy (likely that she wasn't even playing with) and won't give it back.
What I want to say: Snitches get stitches.
What I probably should say instead: Unless someone is doing something dangerous, I'd like you and your brother to try to work things out on your own.
Why this is probably very confusing to the minions: Your definition of dangerous is very different than mine: you neglect to tell me when your brother has ingested three jumbo pieces of chalk, however when he pretends to lick you, this requires a code red level of attention.
What usually happens: Your dad and I probably step in more often then we should, but we're working on it.

The Scenario: One of the minions brings a book into school for show and tell.  Two months later, when we're reading the same story, we find out in great detail about how a kid at daycare ripped the sticker page out of the book and took it as their own personal trophy.
What I want to say:  Are you freaking kidding me? If this upsets you to the point where you're crying about it at bed time, why are you just telling me about this now and not two months ago when I could actually do something about it?
What I probably should say instead: If something upsets you and someone is wrecking your stuff, please tell an adult. Immediately.
Why this is probably very confusing the minions: I just told you not to be a tattletale and now I'm annoyed that you didn't tell me something.
What usually happens: We encourage you to stop bringing your favourite toys, stories etc. into daycare.

The Scenario: A kid at school isn't very nice to one of the minions.  They say mean things like they don't like said child and don't want to be friends.  This is upsetting enough that it gets mentioned to Chris and I, often.
What I want to say: This kid sounds like they're the worst.  The next time they do (insert jerk behaviour here) just tell them to eff off and leave you alone.
What I probably should say instead: Not everyone is going to be nice and not everyone is going to be your friend and that's okay.  You can be polite but not friendly.  I am never going to make you be friends with anyone, but I will try to teach you to be civil.
Why this is probably very confusing to the minions:  You have to be polite, but not a push over.  Sometimes you should walk away, other times stand up.
What usually happens: The minions are overly nice to this person and then complain to us that this child continues to "be mean".

Why I know that this will all be okay:
No matter how much they bicker, the minions already have each other's backs. They have become partners in crime and the loudest voices in the cheering section for each other.  Your dad and I will both pretend to be really upset the first time one of you gets into a scrap defending your brother/sister.

To read about why children of a certain age tend to see the world in black and white click here.

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