Thursday, March 25, 2010

I think this is healthy - making myself useless.

Because I'm a fairly new parent of multiple children, I wasn't always confident about how to handle disagreements between my children. I would do what my parents used to do, which was get involved in the arguments and adjudicate as I saw fit.
And then I read something about how parents should minimize getting involved for a few reasons:
1. Better to let your children work it out so they can learn interpersonal skills and how to deal with each other in a positive way.
2. You could damage the family relationships because your children may see your decisions as unfair and it could appear that you favor one child over another.
3. There are two sides to every story and let's face it, it is tough to be objective.

All of this sounded reasonable to me but I was still unsure until a few events precipitated that made me realize that this really is the way to go. For example, once, I heard D crying and hurling insults at S. So I went over to tell D about how I'm going to put her in a timeout. A friend of mine happened to see the whole incident unfold and told me that I focused on the wrong child. S actually started destroying all of D's handiwork and it made D upset.

So what I do now, even when one of them comes to me to plea their case, is tell them to work it out amongst themselves. And any gripes they have should be directed towards the person and not to me. And I like to remind anyone who comes to me with an issue or gripe towards their sibling that it's not nice to be a tattle and that you need to confront the person who made you upset.

Come to think of it, I can remember when my parents got involved in a situation and the frustration and resentment that I felt when I thought it was patently unfair.

I like knowing that I don't need to solve my children's problems but teach them how to do it themselves. At the end of the day, if they don't need me, I've done my job well as a parent.


farnk said...

I think that's the ideal but the reason there are TV shows like 'The Marriage Ref' is that sometimes only a third party can find resolution.

Haik Bedrosian said...

The Marriage Ref is an awesome new show!