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I’m sure this never happens in your house but in mine, it can be common enough.
In the past, I would have joined in the fight. My voice trying to be louder and heard over the other two screaming children. In the first scenario, I’d be cross with Kid 1 and trying hold back Kid 2 from physically hurting her sister or trying to wreck something Kid 1 loved, as revenge. In the second scenario, I’d be trying to figure out whose turn it actually was and who had the toy for longer. This usually failed and I’d remove the toy and neither would be able to enjoy it for the rest of the day. After dealing with several of these a day, I’d feel deflated by their bedtime.
Recently, I’ve become aware that the problem isn’t actually the problem and I’m trying to fix a problem that isn’t the root one. If I can get to the root and deal with it, I can teach my children skills that they can use to solve fights when I’m not around.
So, for example in the first scenario, I’d enter the room and see the following problems:
My solution would have been:
This rarely worked.
If I looked at the root of the problem it would be:
Now when I approach the argument/fight, I don’t ask Kid 1, ‘Why did you do that?’ because, at the moment, she is too young to fully know and usually answers ‘Because I wanted to’ or ‘I don’t know’. Instead, I name the root by saying something like, ‘I understand that you were jealous that your sister was having fun without out’. Usually, her automatic response is to deny it, however, within seconds she will realise it is the truth and then we can take it from there and look at ways to resolve the jealousy like:
I have found that dealing with the root of the problem and not just what is obvious from first glance is much more satisfying as a parent and I feel less deflated by the end of the day.
Now, to try and figure out how to practice this in my marriage! LOL.