The race of men, while sheep in credulity, are wolves for conformity. -Carl Van Doren, professor, writer, and critic (1885-1950)
I don't know why conflict between my boys seems so tough for me to deal with. Maybe I don't have enough practice. Maybe I don't have enough confidence. Maybe it's something else. I don't know.
Too many times, Storm or Wyl comes to me saying the other did something or hurt him. They *only* do this at home-not at McDonald's, friends' houses, grandparent's houses... (I'm sure there's one time someone will remind me of ;~) ) My first reaction wants to be, "You, (the complainee) stop that offense, *you* (the complainer) figure out a solution!". I don't react this way, of course. The main problem *I* see (which could be *nothing* like what my kids see or need!) is that they're often (I really, really want to say "always", but honestly, it's not "always", just "lots") coming straight to me to work things out between the two of them. Apparently, I'm not going about mediating very well. Sigh...
Today, they were playing Legos in Wyl's room. With Wyl, 95% of the time, this means lots of characters having conflict of some sort. (Hmmm... a thought just popped into my head-maybe I should see if I can play *with* them next time and act out problem-solving...) Today, Storm came complaining that Wyl "wouldn't let me change characters!"
Wyl's response, "He keeps saying, 'I wanna be this guy. No, I wanna be this guy. No, I wanna be *this* guy. No, I wanna be THIS guy. No, now I want to be this guy. I want to be *this* guy'! He just keeps changing!!"
So, I reminded Wyl that Storm was 4 years old and that he was learning a lot about what kind of guy he wanted to be by trying them all out. Wyl said he does it every time. I said that it takes more than one time, it happens over a long period, in Storm's "way" of doing it.
To Storm, I asked if he could tell Wyl at the beginning what few guys, say 3, that he was going to limit his "changing" to, since it really bothered Wyl's playing to have so much changing of "guys". I explained that Wyl had a storyline, a plan that he had worked out in his head and that every time Storm changed guys, it frustrated Wyl, because he had to re-work his story/plan. Storm *said* it was okay. Whether he really understood or not, or understood the "agreement" is another story. :~/
Maybe I offer too much. Maybe I do problem-solve for them too much. When I try to help them work through things together, it seems to involve even more conflict and much angst. If I don't throw in my "two cents worth", it often leads to extreme frustration on Wyl's part, and sometimes things get thrown or smashed. I understand that level of frustration, and that it *seems* best to avoid it at this point. So, I save my "helping them figure out how to work it out together" for smaller stuff, but that seems so few and far between that I am not very adept at it. And I tend to forget.
Add to that mix that I tend to grab up the mantle when there's conflict or hesitation or no one else grabbing it (is that a nicer way of saying I am a control freak? bossy?), and that just adds to the prevailing attitude of "Let mama fix it", I think. Maybe it *is* the right way to do things at this age, this stage, I don't know. I have a lot of self-doubt in that department, and I huge "I don't want to be my mother" reactionary kind of thing going on with the whole "control" issue. I guess the best I can do is just keep turning it over in my head, examining it from all angles and adding things I think might help to the mix. Oh, and *breathing*. I need to remember to breathe... I often forget when it comes to this kind of thing.
Then, too, they *do* some problem-solving without coming to me... sometimes. They play together *lots* very well. They love each other and they're often sweetly kind to each other....
Off to ponder and mull in private instead of public...