Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Compromise Progress

I know with kids it's one step forward and two steps back, so I don't take our recent breakthrough in the area of compromise as a new way of living, but as a step in the right direction.

If you have more than one child you have had to deal with the battles of one wanting one thing and the other something conflicting. If you're kids are different ages, you can sometimes appeal to the elder one for a bit of a break or some balance. Not always, but sometimes. If you have twins (or more) that's not an option.

Many times mine will agree on things, be it what they want for dinner, want to watch on TV, where to go play, if they want to go play etc. But on the times they don't agree, they really don't agree and neither will budge. Sometimes, one will disagree just to disagree.

I have tried it all. Take turns, do what A wants then what B wants (battles). Reason (yeah, right, reason with 3 year olds). Let A pick the meal and B pick the movie (battles). Do something else (battles). Arbitrarily pick one (battles). And the battles can be small, but more often or not, they get physical. Since words did not win them their own way, they will try other methods, or just scream for a few hours straight. I kid you not, if Corwyn picks a movie Nathan doesn't want, Nathan will cry the entire time. But honestly, that is better than the other way. If Nathan picks a movie Corwyn does not want, Corwyn will turn off or unplug the DVD player, throw toys or pound on Nathan, all the time screaming. Often I'm the punching bag too, both literally and figuratively.

So I decided enough. Now we do nothing until both agree. Sometimes it takes a very, very, very long time. This weekend, while waiting for dinner to be cooked, they couldn't decide on a Netflix show. I refused to put it on until they did. Eventually one walked away to do something else. The other considered it a victory of course.

Same with food. I wont start a meal until they agree (at least on the part I offered them a choice in).

Everything takes much longer now and sometimes there are battles while they try to force each other to agree, but it's getting better and each is making more compromises.

But the best was when they worked something more complex out and no one 'lost'.  We had been playing out in the back. We came in for a bit. Nathan wanted to eat outside in the backyard. Corwyn wasn't hungry and wanted to go ride his bike to the playground. Nathan did not want his bike, Corwyn did not want to go into the back. I suggested eating at the playground. Nope. They were both quite agitated so I just sat down and told them they had to agree or we would do nothing. So I sat. They both whined their requests over and over a bit, pleading with me to pick them. I stood my ground. Finally, after about 15 minutes, Nathan said "Why don't we watch 1 TV show. Then eat here. Then take our bikes to the playground". Corwyn immediately said yes. And while TV on a nice sunny day was not in my plans, I was not going to do anything to derail this progress.

And that is exactly what we did. It was a big small step.


K J and the kids said...

Been there done that :)
Yes....I agree that the....stand there until everyone agrees has been the best. I like to listen to them compromise. I think it's a really great tool to learn and have for later in life.

Clementine & Olive said...

I'm so excited to come across your blog! I'm a single mom of twin boys as well. I'll be checking back in to keep up with your posts!! X