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epiphany! but still need answers

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Last night my 9 and 6 yo sons were playing and then play took a dive into power struggle. my oldest was using his words and staying calm, "I was playing with that can I please have it back" while having a death grip on said thing. YOungest having death grip on the other thing is not using words but using all his might to keep oldest from getting said thing. Oldest asks for help, I step in and tell youngest to let go and give it to oldest since he was playing with it and asking nicely for it back, youngest still refuses. i end up prying fingers off and handing it to oldest. so, epiphany is I don't know what to do when the words don't work, so how can I teach my child what to do. I ended up using my size and strength :(

post #2 of 15

The words aren't magic, it's true! We like to pretend they will be, and this is such a good point. Your story reminds me of watching another parent try to mediate for 3 toddlers that all wanted a bike that one of them had brought to the park. She was trying to teach her child to "ask nicely" to borrow it and was modeling it by asking (over and over), but it didn't work at all, and it sort of made the toddlers' approach, grabbing, look just as effective :( Eventually distractions were used. 

 

Your situation actually sounds really good to me, the kids are working through it and practicing. I hear you though on not feeling right about using force, however gentle, to make the words work! I think the other half of "use your words" has to be to say to the other child "you need to listen to X's words" and maybe help by repeating them when you are right there next to child who needs to hear them (it sounds like you did this).

 

In case of not listening (to a parent or another child with a legitimate issue/objection), especially for a younger child, I also do a lot of "do you want to do it by yourself or should I help you... ok I'm going to help you" (in this case maybe  "I see you are not listening to X's words, I'm going to help you let go of the toy" and maybe help with redirection too). A lot of times kids really want to do things by themselves, so even if it's something they don't want to do, at least they can do it by themselves when they understand what the choices are. I also find it helpful to make observations about listening, thank a child for listening, etc, including when there's nothing at stake and no conflict going on, so they have a chance to see how it's appreciated and noticed etc. Even my 1yo smiles when I tell her "thank you for listening" - I think they really like to know the effort is appreciated, because it's not always easy to listen to words saying the opposite of what you want to do!

 

All that said, it's always harder in real life / conflicts between kids, but it sounds like you're doing a great job!

post #3 of 15

My DC went to a cooperative school that had the most wonderful method for handling this sort of thing. Now that I have a second baby I want to call them and ask them to send me more information on the system they used. But, it was basically a guided active listening thing. You would take the thing away from both kids while you talked about it. You guide the kids to a discussion where they listen and repeat back what the other kid has said. Then you guide them in finding a solution. 

 

If that doesn't feel right, how about a strong rule that the child already playing with something gets to keep playing with it? You would have to enforce that when it doesn't work. I suppose it would involve you taking it away from the imposing child, which doesn't feel good. 

 

Hum...

 

There must be some good books on this kind of thing. Isn't one called something like "sibling rivalries and power struggles" or something like that? Anybody? 

post #4 of 15

My rule is, if I hear fighting over a toy, the toy goes in the closet and nobody gets to play with it.  I don't care who is 'right' and I am not going to waste my time playing referee.  You'd be amazed how quickly they figure out how to apply some diplomacy when they realize what the alternative is. HTH

post #5 of 15

Yeah, I do that too.  I've got my students well trained...

 

For instance, if I notice that two kids are arguing over who gets to use something, I go over, and ask if they can solve them problem by themselves, or do they need me to solve it.

 

If they can't solve it themselves (or haven't been deputized), I tell them that I will happily solve the problem for them--by removing the problem, that way nobody gets to have it.

I rarely have to do anything else...and the kids almost always come up with a reasonable solution.

 

This tactic even works with teenagers, BTW. ;)
 

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post

My rule is, if I hear fighting over a toy, the toy goes in the closet and nobody gets to play with it.  I don't care who is 'right' and I am not going to waste my time playing referee.  You'd be amazed how quickly they figure out how to apply some diplomacy when they realize what the alternative is. HTH

This works wonderfully for a friend of mine. For a different friend... not so much. Her youngest daughter decided at age 5 that if she didn't get to play with a toy she wanted then NO ONE would. She would intentionally put up a loud fuss so that her mom would confiscate the toy her brother was playing nicely with. It was truly unfair to the older brother, as he either had the choice to give in and give the toy up or have it taken away by mom anyway. Luckily one of the parents saw this in action a few times and decided they needed to think up a different solution.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinuviel_k View Post


This works wonderfully for a friend of mine. For a different friend... not so much. Her youngest daughter decided at age 5 that if she didn't get to play with a toy she wanted then NO ONE would. She would intentionally put up a loud fuss so that her mom would confiscate the toy her brother was playing nicely with. It was truly unfair to the older brother, as he either had the choice to give in and give the toy up or have it taken away by mom anyway. Luckily one of the parents saw this in action a few times and decided they needed to think up a different solution.

 

 

Do you know what that solution was, because I have a dynamic here where the younger child has such determination and tunnel vision that she is just unable to compromise at all, and won't listen to the older child at all...and when I try to help them work it through she still is unwilling to consider any option except her original idea, a lot of the time.  So the same scenario happens, the older eventually gives in and gives up, a majority of the time because the younger is louder and more persistant....and that's not fair either.  Mine are 6-1/2 and almost 9, too.  I have worked intensely with both of them for years, and it has not really worked at all.  

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinuviel_k View Post


This works wonderfully for a friend of mine. For a different friend... not so much. Her youngest daughter decided at age 5 that if she didn't get to play with a toy she wanted then NO ONE would. She would intentionally put up a loud fuss so that her mom would confiscate the toy her brother was playing nicely with. It was truly unfair to the older brother, as he either had the choice to give in and give the toy up or have it taken away by mom anyway. Luckily one of the parents saw this in action a few times and decided they needed to think up a different solution.

 

Honestly I would be fine with that scenario.  That is how it is supposed to work.  Older bro will have to let younger sis have a turn or lose the toy - doubtless she will be bored of it in 5 minutes and then he can have it back.  Or raise his own tantrum at that point, if he prefers.  His choice.  As I said I am not interested in negotiating the minutiae of 'fair' to the satisfaction of small children.  One of the advantages of having siblings is having to figure out how to navigate situations like this.

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post

 

Honestly I would be fine with that scenario.  That is how it is supposed to work.  Older bro will have to let younger sis have a turn or lose the toy - doubtless she will be bored of it in 5 minutes and then he can have it back.  Or raise his own tantrum at that point, if he prefers.  His choice.  As I said I am not interested in negotiating the minutiae of 'fair' to the satisfaction of small children.  One of the advantages of having siblings is having to figure out how to navigate situations like this.

As a person who as an adult often also stuffs her own desires to avoid conflict with a more loud, persistent, emotional person, I do NOT want my son learning that this is the way to do it, to give in and wait the other person out until they get bored.  I don't want that to become *normal* to him, so that it's his default.  I want them *both* to learn how to compromise.  

 

Let me qualify - if they wee 2 and 4, or even maybe 3 and 5 that would be different and I'd tend to agree with you more because of the developmental stage of the younger sibling.....but a 6 and 9 year old, I don't think the 9 year old should be default "give in" to the 6 year old because they're younger.


Edited by The4OfUs - 12/4/12 at 2:44pm
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post

 One of the advantages of having siblings is having to figure out how to navigate situations like this.

 

And it's difficult to navigate when one party refuses to change course with the situation at hand.

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post


Do you know what that solution was, because I have a dynamic here where the younger child has such determination and tunnel vision that she is just unable to compromise at all, and won't listen to the older child at all...and when I try to help them work it through she still is unwilling to consider any option except her original idea, a lot of the time.  So the same scenario happens, the older eventually gives in and gives up, a majority of the time because the younger is louder and more persistant....and that's not fair either.  Mine are 6-1/2 and almost 9, too.  I have worked intensely with both of them for years, and it has not really worked at all.  

I agree with you: teaching my child to roll over and give in to a louder, more dynamic, more socially manipulative kid is not a lesson I want to teach. And my friends didn't want to have that happen either. My friend has had to work long and hard at this. Youngest daughter would also set up her older siblings to get in trouble in various other ways. It was amazing how clever this kiddo was at such an early age. She would manipulate situations so well. Example: if youngest sister and one of the siblings were sword fighting she would egg them on, get really hyper, get the other kiddo super excited... And then would intentionally walk in to her brother's sword. She would immeadiatly scream "Jonathan HIT me!" The parent would tell Jonathan to go to the corner, tell his that he was bigger and needed to be more responsible, and little sister would sit there smirking once the parent turned their back. She was four. Yikes!

After a year or so of this the parents finally clued in that little sis was orchestrating all these "fights" and was making it so that her brothers' toys got taken away on a regular basis. They deal with it now by making sure that they hear each child equally, encouraging their quieter children to stand up for themselves and get adult help if needed, and work extra hard with their daughter about learning empathy and acceptable sharing practices. They still need to get firm with her and help her understand that just because she wants a toy doesn't mean she gets it right now.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinuviel_k View Post

They deal with it now by making sure that they hear each child equally, encouraging their quieter children to stand up for themselves and get adult help if needed, and work extra hard with their daughter about learning empathy and acceptable sharing practices. They still need to get firm with her and help her understand that just because she wants a toy doesn't mean she gets it right now.

 

RATS.  I was hoping there was some magic GD bullet in there. orngtongue.gif   Thanks for answering though!

 

I'll just be thankful that I'm not dealing with the level of issue your friends were; my younger does not try to deliberately get the older in trouble, it's just she's unwilling to compromise or listen once she gets an idea in her head of how she thinks something should be (when it involves both of them in a situation).  No matter how many, many, MANY times I have gone over with both of them how to talk, listen, and come up with ideas for compromise - in the heat of the moment it all goes out the window.  Sigh.

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kindacrunchy View Post

Last night my 9 and 6 yo sons were playing and then play took a dive into power struggle. my oldest was using his words and staying calm, "I was playing with that can I please have it back" while having a death grip on said thing. YOungest having death grip on the other thing is not using words but using all his might to keep oldest from getting said thing. Oldest asks for help, I step in and tell youngest to let go and give it to oldest since he was playing with it and asking nicely for it back, youngest still refuses. i end up prying fingers off and handing it to oldest. so, epiphany is I don't know what to do when the words don't work, so how can I teach my child what to do. I ended up using my size and strength :(

 

Yes, but you used it with discretion and tempered it with as much kindness as you could.  You were in control, right?  And by that I don't mean measured corporal punishment, but the same sort of physical force and intent you'd use to remove a knife your child had gotten hands on by mistake.  You're teaching them how to use their own strength here.  Be kind to yourself.  :-)

post #14 of 15

I have to say, as a child (say around 6 or 7), a few times I put water in my eyes to get them red and told mom that my brother hit me while pretending to cry huh.gif. Just for the fun of it. Oh man, I feel so horrible/guilty about all the crap I did to my siblings that I thought was funny.

The point of this is, really take the personality of the child into consideration on how the rules apply.

 

BTW I think there is nothing inherently wrong with using your size/strength as long as it is done with respect and as minimally as possible. We are bigger/stronger and smarter(to an extent) by nature otherwise it would be difficult to stay in charge.

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

Goodness, I had no idea there were all these replies. Thank you! The4of Us, that is what is happening. Younger brother will no way, no how back down, negotiate, etc., etc. It is his way or the highway. I, too, have worked extensively over the years. Mambera, I don't want my kids to learn to back down to someone who is being emotionally unreasonable as well. I can say that for my oldest, his stubborness and lack of bending to someone's whim worked in his favor at his new school with a boy that started some bully behavior with him. He nipped it in the bud. My youngest, the one who is being the most stubborn right now, the frustrating part is that he goes from zero to mad in seconds. He simply won't use his words. Now, it may be that my oldest is so verbal and will just negotiate his way through everything that he (my youngest) hasn't had the chance to develop that ability.

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