Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Before You Get Upset

Sibling rivalry is so fun, isn't it?  Watching the two (or more) small people you love most in the world screaming and jumping on each other brings such warmth and joy to our hearts.  I have felt, up to this point, that is was my job to step in when things got dicey.  My little one was so young; he couldn't yet stand up for himself.  But lately I have decided to give them both a chance to practice diplomacy.  If they came to me to tattle, I would simply say, "Go back and tell your brother" rather than fixing the problem for them.  I am finding that, after a few weeks, we are getting somewhere.

Today I was getting dressed after a shower and I could hear them going back and forth.  It sounded something like this.  "DREW! DREW!  DREW!" My oldest said this roughly fifteen times in a frantic voice.  Overlay that with, "NOOOOOOOOO!" in a squeal from my youngest followed by a more authoritative, "Guke.  No."  My blood pressure was rising as I struggled to put on my t-shirt and intervene before this got physical.  Then I stopped myself.  Breathe...Let them figure this out...You can always go out there if it gets worse.  So I did.  And I heard this.

"Now Drew, before you get upset, let me explain to you what was happening," my oldest said in a tone that sounded surprisingly like my own.  "Kay," my youngest said.  "Okay," my oldest said as he let out a big sigh of relief, "You asked me to get you the grabbers (translation: kitchen tongs) and I had to unlock them before you can use them.  I promise I wasn't trying to steal," he finished.  "Oh," said my youngest showing that this had done much to assuage his anger.  "Grabbers - Mine own?" he asked his older brother.  "Sure, here ya go!  Now let's go PLAY!" my oldest yelled as he ran on to bigger and better things.

They are getting it.  At least they are starting to get it. There are plenty of times when things get ugly, but I was so proud of my oldest for coming up with a way to diffuse the situation.  I was so proud of my youngest for listening and responding.  I have always been convinced that siblings teach us so much about conflict resolution.  I have been the child in that lesson, but never the adult.  How cool to watch the process.

How do your children resolve conflict on their own?  Do you see them mirroring your approaches or coming up with one all their own?

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