My kids fight! I am not sure why, I am not always sure what about. All I know is that sometimes just when I think things are going really well and I have got it all under control, people start hitting each other.
Most of the time these fights, and other crazy things occur when I am not in the same room with my children. They are downstairs and I am trying to catch a moment of stillness, or I am changing the baby while they are playing in the other room. Typically one of them will run to me and begin to recount the story of what happened. These are the moments of parenting that I find most difficult. What do you do? It feels good to support the crying child, tear into the other room and bring “justice” to the situation. Unfortunately, I am not really sure what happened, Who hit who? Why did he hit you? It can all be quite disorienting.
Someone told me once to never place myself as the judge in these types of situations. I was told that these scenarios are lose, lose for parents and children. If we choose the crying child, the “hitter” feels unloved. If we choose the “hitter” the “cryer” feels unloved. I was advised, instead to intervene with comfort and then a question to both parties. Provide comfort to the hurting child and then ask the question, how are you going to handle that?
I really like this question it can be used in many situations and it always provokes thought. It is so tempting, and usually easier for parents to give answers, provide solutions, or give instructions. Asking, How are you going to handle that creates discussion, it allows your child to think through their choices and hopefully to make one. The best part is that when they make a choice and act on it, no matter how it turns out they are responsible. If they choose wisely and the situation turns out well, they are responsible experiencing a wonderful sense of accomplishment and joy. On the other hand, if they choose unwisely, they are also responsible for those actions. They are left to face the natural consequences of their behavior with no one to blame but themselves.