“That’s mine!” “No that’s mine!” “Stop it!” “No, you stop!” “I’m telling!” “Whaaa!”...
Words we have heard from kids, no matter where we are, what environment we are in,
at some point in most people’s lives. How does a caregiver resolve a dynamic with children who seem to be at a complete impasse where communication breaks down into tears, arguments or similar behavior?
Well, with the same premise as another article written, I would like to offer the idea to
staying open to new approaches, with the understanding that ideas are gifts we can give that we may, or may not choose, to implement, as we wish, and as parents...and that
there is a big ocean to dip our parental cups into, to glean new approaches, and apply to
see what works within our family dynamics! That is not to say ideas are anything
but that, ideas; but, to say we are all here to lift each other, with new information or
reinforcements of established sentiments and my hope is always, always, always that we
grow together, as a family on this Earth together, on the parental and life journeys we
So, when the breakdown in playful peace occurs, one option to consider is approaching each child at eye level, to establish a sense of respect for who they are in their person and spirit, while they are still together, if possible...begin by asking each child what they feel happened. This is designed to offer each child a chance to be heard, from start to finish, on their understanding of what happened, so a platform of dignity they stand upon is maintained and encouraged by the intermediator, or caregiver, and the other child, or children, involved.
Second, when rules are in place where they are playing a repeat, or explanation, of the play rules is a great next step. Then, within the context of the explained rules for
behavior, the correlation between the exhibited breakdown of behavior, from each or
either child will become apparent; and, the intermediator, or caregiver, should
concurrently clarify how, for example, the exhibited yelling, not sharing, pulling, or
similar violates the play rules.
And, this is an excellent time for explaining why the rules are in place because the why has a direct relevance upon the children understanding the nature of the rules, per how they came about, and how they must be adhered to by the children. Without why there may be a risk of feeling invalidated due to the nature of the problem resonating around a perceived offense.
As many knows, the universal principle that should be behind most rules is to ensure peaceful, respectful and safe play; therefore, with the explanation of the rules and the why, this underlying theme, in contrast to the addressed behavior, will lead the children in action choices. Simply, because peace and respect, as a basis, denotes showing consideration for others as their follow up actions or demonstration and the rules should clarify this when established.
So, when we show respect and peace in our approach to mediate an argument, or breakdown, toward all involved, within the parameters of the rules in place as the fence of safety for play, we are guiding them by our modeling of what we say. And, they will see what it looks like to apply the rules we explain. It means we are giving them the visual they need to understand, retain and act upon to move beyond the issue at hand...and to take what they learn into the next encounter as another step toward growth and maturity in handling conflict.
We are not teaching them conflict does not occur, we are teaching them it does, how to work through it and why to work through it by principles in place that is bigger than their immediate reactions. And, as they see this unfold, whether it takes one time or many, they will begin to see how the world works, how to get along in the world and how to get along and play well with others!
Stay open and willing to learn new ideas and we will all get there together!
Evita E. has been a happy customer of Nanny2U, is mom to an Autistic Angel and now is writing, doing photography, videography and creative content, with every available moment in a very dynamic and busy life!