"FORGET YOUR INNER SHERLOCK" Focus on children's needs and cooperationFeuilletonfamilycooperationpeacefriendshipharmony
How to stop kids from fighting without a bitter taste of injustice?
WHY I BELIEVE IN THIS? • Becouse children need to feel they are OK even if they made a mistake • Becouse children are learning social skills • Becouse I believe in possitive attitude and unconditional love. • Becouse I found out that a traditional attitude based on control, threaths and external motivation is not longlasting solution
“BITTER” TRUE It took and it takes my time, energy and I had to stay persistent for years.
WHAT? It is a solution without repression based on a good inner feeling of harmony, peace, friendship, ability to cooperate and enjoy the adventages of beeing and playing together with friends. A solution that after some time works even if I am not present. And what is more even if there is no threat of any punishment present that would force the kids to behave friendly.
A crucial bit of advice that made all the difference came from the books focused on respect and empathy towards kids.
The advice is simple: don’t focus on who started it, focus on the solution of a problem and childrens needs and wishes.
And there is one more assuption. It is my believe that really small children behave without any hidden intentions if they are not exposed to, for them not to unbereable pressure.
IT’S NOT ABOUT JUSTICE As parents, we are tempted to understand the cause of a fight. We instinctively believe that we can only solve a problem if we know what caused it in the first place. We WANT to play Sherlock Holmes; we need to revisit the crime scene, look for cleverly hidden details, and hear all sides of the story so we can issue a fair hand of justice.
Banish the labels “aggressor” and “victim” from your mind, forever. Instead, focus on all sides of the conflict and support a solution. Even if you see one child hit another, you probably missed a nuanced offense that meant everything to the other child. I can promise you that one child will ALWAYS believe, with all their heart, that the other child started it. 10 STEPS TO SANITY
1) Stop the flight; safely separate them.
2) Calm your mind. Be neutral. Do not react with your own emotions.
3) If possible, kneel down to their level. Sit with them. Start with a fact: “I see you are fighting. May I help? It is never ok to hurt someone.”
4) Show affection equally. If the fight is between two children, e.g. hug them both to calm them down. If it’s more than two children, do your best to show equality.
5) If there are serious wounds, address them. Determine if medical help is needed while the other child waits.
6) Respect their emotions. It’s not your job to agree with them, it’s your job to hear them, however respecting their emotions does not meen to agree with aggressive actions that where taken. If possible come back to this point and learn your kids how to express emotions safely before hitting somebody / e.g.”You can stump your feet or hit the ground but not a friend.” And be truthfull -show them sometimes how to do it.
7) If they are stuck in their emotions be as objective as you can. Stick with facts: “Oh, yes! Your car IS broken! It was your favorite! You are sad. I wish it would not happened but it did. Let’s talk about it.” What can we do now? How can we solve it?
8) Stay present and mediate their solution. Guide them to solving the dispute on their own. Help them to focus on what are they NEEDS /WISHES not on blaming each other. Help them listen to each other, brainstorm solutions, and agree on an approach. In some cases you might need to state the facts very clearly. “We have two kids but only one swing. What can we do?” You might need to make suggestions, “We can take turns. We can use a timer or count together and then switch!”
9) Encourage them to apologize to each other, but don’t force it. Emphasize forgiveness once the apologies are given. Remember that small children often apologize without words. They might offer to share, play together, draw a picture for the other, hug, or just smile at each other. These are GOLD!
10) Once the incident has passed, bring in some humor to lighten the situation. Taking things too seriously can be frightening to children and reduce their ability to cooperate in future disputes. Try using funny words, talk in a funny voice, or introduce the tickle monster. WHAT IF YOU MESSED UP? We all make mistakes. If you lost your temper or raised your voice, go easy on yourself and model good behavior by apologizing to the children. And don’t forget to accept their apology too. Showing forgiveness is a transformative gift that is always ours to give.
AND THE PAYOFFS IF YOU STAY CONSISTENT AND PERSEVERE?
- Children will learn to resolve disputes independently.
- Children will learn how to show respect
- Children will learn listening skills
- Children will learn the power of apology and forgiveness.
- There will be fewer disputes.
- They will stay friends.
Lenka Míkovcová with kind cooperation of Carol Dirig Landers and feedback from my Petr Prague, February 2019