As a homeschooling mom, who's kids are all at home and spend most of their days together, you can be sure that there are a fair amount of fights and arguments that come up. And not only that, but being that they are mostly home and not at school, I have had to come up with a lifestyle where "Mommy" is not the one responsible for their entertainment 12 hours a day.
Let me explain.
I grew up in South Africa until the age of 12 where we had 2 maids and a full time gardener. I went to a private Jewish school (King David Sandton, for those fellow South Africans who read this blog:) and had extra curricular activities every day after school, ranging from tennis lessons, swim team, art class, pottery, modern dance and netball (similar to basket ball, but for girls).
When at home, there was always homework, tests to study for and projects to do for school. Then on the weekends it was always play dates with friends and lunches with cousins and grandparents.
I really never had to make any decisions as a kid. Everything was completely laid out for me. It was nice then, but it came back to bite me as an adult, as I found it very difficult when having to make decisions. I didn't have that confidence to trust myself. To know that what I thought would be the right thing to do, would be the right thing to do.
Fast forward to now and I really feel that it is so important to give kids that skill. To figure things out on their own in the real world. To make proper decisions.
When my kids fight or argue ("Mommy, he has 5 animals and I only have 4, its not fair..." or "She won't let me play with her and I want to.") and come to me to get a verdict (decide who is right or wrong and what to do next) I almost always say--- "You guys need to figure it out. You need to come up with a compromise. A way where you are both happy. Lets think of some different options of how we can work this out." And I would say that 99% of the time, after a few minutes of going back and forth, with mom as the mediator, THEY come up with an agreement and walk away happy. Both of them.
And if we have plans to go on a trip, lets say, to the park, and it starts raining- I say to them, "Okay guys, it's raining. We can't go to the park, but lets think of something fun that we can do instead." And we all sit down and decide what to do.
This is not "giving the kids their way" and doing "what they want", but it is empowering these little people to think for themselves and realize that their thoughts and opinions matter. Not always will we do what they want, but we will discuss it, and figure out what works for everyone.
It sounds like a lot of work and effort, but it WORKS.
Try it. You will be so pleasantly surprised and proud of how smart these little ones can be.
Wishing you all a wonderful week,