Urania Cremene, one of the most respected experts in the “parenting job”, says that arguments between the little ones are definitely “the children’s problem”. And this, regardless of whether the other children are siblings or classmates from school, kindergarten, relatives. Why is it the child’s problem, which he should learn to solve for himself?
In the expert’s view, most of the time, when conflicts arise, the adult is not there, by his side, to help him. And if a child learns from an early age to resolve his conflicts with others, this has long-term benefits, not only in the family context, but also in the relationships he will have with others.
How NOT to intervene in the disputes of the little ones
Let’s say there are two children in the same house, but even if you have only one child, who has a guest to play with, the same thing happens in case of conflict. Most parents, in a serious tone, tell their children to stop with physical or emotional aggressive gestures. When they hear the command ‘stop fighting or fighting!’, the children calm down, but this does not mean that the tensions between them have been resolved. “Because you intervened, you put out the “fire”, but in them the “fire” did not go out. In addition, they did not learn how to resolve their conflict, because you intervened and stopped it’, exemplifies Urania Cremene, in the “All About Parenting” program, which she created and made available to parents willing to learn how to bring up their children harmoniously and healthily.
Another wrong step that many parents make is to give children the solution to resolve the conflict. In general, the little ones fight over toys, the same one, which they both want. Parents recommend using the toy for a few minutes one, then for another few minutes the other, i.e. take turns playing with it. Or they may say: “This is the other child’s toy, please give it back, it’s not your toy!”. When you as a parent offer the solution to extinguish the conflict, it does not mean that the child will know what to do in the future. The third reaction that parents have in case of a fight between children, if it is about toys, for example, is to take the object that started the “war”. The object of discord disappears, but even in this case, the little ones do not know how to manage such situations in the future. When they are separated and sent to different corners of the house, all that happens, while the parents think they have solved the problem, is that the unresolved tension between them increases, each thinks of how to get revenge, and the parent turns into the children’s vision in the “bad wolf”, which separated them.
Did you know that…
…the most common question asked by parents to their children is “Who started it?”? In this case, the parent will not easily find out who started it, because the ‘enemies’ will blame each other. Besides, it doesn’t matter who started it, but what is the solution to stop the fight.
8 tips for parents and children
1. As a parent, try not to take sides or favor one child over another.
2. Get the children’s attention, line them up, and ask them questions about what happened before disciplinary action without understanding what the trigger was.
3. Help your children develop their own conflict resolution skills. Teach them how to compromise, respect each other, share things fairly, etc. If you give them the tools and give them advice and concrete examples, they’ll eventually have the confidence that they can figure it out on their own.
4. Don’t yell at anyone or lecture. Pleas like: “please understand each other as brothers, that you should be best friends!” won’t help either.
5. Don’t count on finding out ‘who started it’, because it takes two to fight. It’s important for little ones to be responsible and take notice when ground rules are broken.
6. In a conflict, give children a chance to express their feelings to each other, without inducing them to seek justice.
7. Teach them to talk about their feelings without yelling, bad mouthing or violence.
8. Encourage them to prefer win-win situations where each side gains something.