Monday, January 7, 2013

Cousin Rivalry Part II

We headed to my sister's house today to play.  We were hoping to have the boys run around the yard while we had a cup of coffee and some good conversation.  Someday I will learn that good conversation is not possible with small children around but my optimism hasn't quit on me yet.  We played with them for a few hours then decided to spend the last fifteen minutes or so catching up with each other.  We gave them clear instructions to play in the boys' rooms while we talked and would come get them when the 15 minutes was up.  Before I uttered a complete sentence, the screaming started.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!" my son was screaming.  "LET ME BACK IN!!!!"  He ran to get my sister and I and told us that his cousins had locked him out of the bedroom after he tried to play with one of their toys.  As a mom, I always feel like my son is right and the other person must be wrong (oh, you do too - admit it).  BUT in this case I love all parties equally so I knew we needed to get to the bottom of it.  We called them in for a summit and asked the oldest to report on the situation.  He said that my son had tried to play with a brand new Christmas toy and wouldn't give it up so they just hit him with it and kicked him out.  He closed with, "But Mom, you understand, right?  It was a new Christmas toy."  No, she didn't understand and neither did I.  Punishments and apologies were handed out and they were sent back to play.

"AUNT TESSIE! AUNT TESSIE! AUNT TESSIE!" my son yelled not 2 minutes later.  "They locked me out again!"  This time, she got up and tried a different tactic - One I had seen my mom do with us a hundred times over the years.  "Look - you guys are cousins.  You love each other.  You have fun together.  Let's talk about how each of you feels and we'll clear the air.  Everybody gets a turn," she said fairly.  My son started first.  "I just wanted to play with your toys but you won't let me and it hurts my feelings.  That's why I yell and scream."  My nephew answered, "When you yell and scream, I don't want to be around you.  It feels like you are being mean."  Sidebar: These kids are 3 and 4.  I don't know many adults that are that in touch with their feelings.  Anyway, they hugged and kissed and played nicely together for the rest of our visit.  They had cleared the air.  

It works for adults so why wouldn't it work for kids?  My sister reminded me how much their feelings need to be heard, too.  Just because they are little doesn't mean that they don't have them.  Feelings of anger, jealousy and possessiveness are all things they will have to deal with at different points in their lives.  It's never too early to start learning the right way to move past it and play nicely together.


  1. Love that the problem was resolved amiably and that neither you nor your sister took sides.

    Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

    1. Thanks for visiting, Veronica! It is hard not to take sides sometimes but there is always more to the story than we hear at first. I appreciate your encouraging words!

  2. This is great! Gosh I miss all of you! Your mom taught me about talking out feelings too. Cousins are your first best friends. Xoxo jazz

    1. We miss you, too! I will tell my mom you said that - it will make her day. Lots of love to you!


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