My brothers and I never fought physically. Yeah, there was a lot of screaming (on my part), and mental torture, but we never really came to blows.
As a parent, I work hard to keep my children in a violence-free atmostphere. It may seem a little strict, but I don't let them watch anything on TV other than Noggin, a handful of PBS shows, and talk shows like Rachael Ray. We don't even watch Spongebob or Fairly Oddparents or anything like that. I'm big on age-appropriateness when it comes to the media, books, etc., to which my cherubs are exposed.
Imagine my surprise, then, that I have managed to give birth to two beautiful princesses who will readily beat each other to a pulp at the slightest provocation! Where does that even come from?
So, I have spent almost every day since Cakes became mobile training Bean in non-violent conflict resolution with Cakes. It goes something like this:
Me: "What do we do when Sissy bothers us? Do we hit Sissy?"
Me: "Do we kick Sissy?"
Me: "Do we push Sissy down?"
Me: "What do we do when Sissy bothers us?"
Bean: "We tell Mom."
Me: "That's right. You tell Mommy. That way we can talk about things and work out a solution to the problem without hitting."
We've had the same interchange about five million times, and it is usually following a screaming stint in time out where Bean refuses to apologize to Cakes for pushing, hitting, kicking, etc.
A few days ago, I was in the grocery store with the girls. We were walking down the aisle. Suddenly, Cakes grabbed Bean, put her in a headlock, and began punching her in the face. Yes, my completely-sheltered-from-violence-in-the-media two-year-old put her four-year-old sister in some sort of half-Nelson or something and began pummeling her. And so began Conflict Resolution Training for Cakes. It goes something like this:
Me, with a very serious look on my face: "What do we do when Sissy bothers us?"
Cakes, with an equally serious look on her face: "Scream."
Me, trying hard not to laugh: "No, we tell Mommy. That way we can talk about things and work out a solution to the problem without hitting."
Cakes: "But I not going to listen to you."
And, there you have it. I think we have a ways to go.
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