Thursday, June 26, 2008

Breaking the Good Mom Myth Part 2

In case anyone was wondering after my previous post on parenting, the whole let-your-six-and-three-year-old-work-out-their-problems-for-themselves-even-if-they're-using-violence tactic did not work. The six year old, who has been pristinely trained not to hit, refused to hit. Even when the three year old socked her in the stomach, scratched her in the arm, kicked her in the leg and called her stupid. The six year old cried and left the scene. The three year old for the most part got what she want. The six year old became very unhappy and unsettled, asking Mom and Dad why we did nothing. The three year old grinned from ear to ear. It did not take a genius to figure out what was wrong with this picture. As my dear friend Kate pointed out (the obvious), three year olds do not have a set of conflict management instructions they can easily consult. Therefore they hit, bite, scratch, and scream if they feel pushed hard enough.

We're now making up for Mom and Dad's lack of intervention. We're having lots of time outs. Lots of mediation. Of course, there times we let the girls figure small things out on their own, but as soon as violence and name-calling enter the scene, so do we.

Everyone is much happier.

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