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What to do when your children argue? For or against whom to position? First of all we have to remember that we are parents and not judges or lawyers in the discussions of our childrenThat is why perhaps the best thing is to let ourselves be carried away by our emotions. I do so and, for now, I have to say that things are going well and that the number of daily discussions has even dropped. Next I will tell you my trick and I invite you to put it into practice.
Surely it happens to you too, as a father or mother you have the feeling of continually dispensing justice with your children. This is one of the 'functions' that fathers and mothers have to assume. It usually occurs, generally, when we have two or more children, and they often argue or fight. The feeling that remains is always one of doubt: if you have been fair, if the anger always falls to him, if I have been excessive in the consequence or I have fallen short, if I have used an appropriate tone or have I gone too far. (When I say argue or fight I speak it in a moderate or proportional way, unfortunately something normal between brothers).
Starting from the basis that, as a pedagogue, I understand the family as a system (a set of elements related to each other), I see it as normal and necessary for siblings, as they get older, to provoke that tension to find their place in the system itself family.
Sometimes that search for space makes us parents be judges of their discussions, and We must remember that we are not, we are parents and sometimes the unfair can be the most equitable. Among the complaints that I usually receive from the parents I work with, the most common is 'I can't stand them fighting or hitting each other'. In short, all of us who have had siblings at some point have done so, fortuitously or provoked. I still remember my mother telling me, regarding the relationship with my older sister, 'they cannot be together, nor separated' that is, we were looking for each other to argue.
I describe a situation to see if it sounds familiar. You are calm in the living room of your house, and one of your children comes sobbing and tells you that his older brother has given him four potatoes. Automatically, having only that information, our brain gives us the order to scold or go talk to the other brother. But when you go, he is crying saying that he has thrown his shirt and insulted him, that is, he adds new information that in a short time you have to make a fair decision.
Children expect you to be fair to the situation, as injustice is one of the worst things a person can endure. Therefore, you see yourself with these facts, without time to deliberate, and without a prosecutor or lawyer who can help you, you only have to dispense justice. You calibrate the damage of each one, and your brain tends to the solomonic solution, which is the act of punishing both. It's fair, it's true, but are you being fair? These are difficult situations to manage as parents, but perhaps an opportunity for improvement opens up.
I propose a new option that I have started to practice and, for now, it works well. It is based on not having to dispense justice based on the reason for the events, but based on my emotions and the emotional damage that may have occurred.
First of all, I explained to my children that, when they come to tell me the problem of why they hit or argued, I will not be fair, in the sense of justice that they know, but that as a parent I will position myself with the one who emotionally has caused me at that moment more sadness or pain, that is, to which emotionally it would lead me to defend it. This does not mean that you always put yourself in favor of the smallest, because emotionally it can affect them more, but it depends on the emotional level that you have and that is how you act. The first time I did it it was great, and so far with its ups and downs it has been fairly good for me.
The first time I remember how Marcos, 12 years old, came to tell me that Adriana, 8, had hit him and pushed him. She came to get me to scold her, but when I went to scold Adriana, she told me with tears in her eyes that she had done it because Marcos had told her that he did not want her as a sister.
That helped me to position myself next to Adriana and I made it known to Marcos. Anyone can put up with having your shirt thrown at you and insulted, but it's sadder when your older brother tells you that he doesn't love you as a sister. Emotionally, the situation of my daughter had caused me more pain and sadness and I empathized more with her. Marcos was upset because he wanted justice, Adriana felt good and I felt better, because I pulled on the instinct of emotion.
From that moment, when something happens, I evaluate my emotional impact and position myself on the side that I empathize with the most emotionally speaking. They know it and I think that every time they argue less or tell me less, since they will never know how I am emotionally that day to act.
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