Posted in family life

conflict resolution in the eyes of a child

At the children’s museum this weekend, a brother and sister were building a fort together with the large blocks in the toddler/preschool area of the museum. They were a little older – the brother was maybe 8 years old, his sister maybe 4 or 5. Rondel, who’s been in a bit of a tower-destroying phase in general, was really drawn to that fort, and not in a way much appreciated by its builders! But I was incredibly impressed with how they handled the potential conflict.

First, they asked Rondel very politely not to knock their fort over, explaining that they were still building it. Next, the brother went over to his dad and asked his dad to build a separate tower a ways away from the fort. Finally, when that tower was complete, he came back to Rondel, asked him what his name was, and then told him that this other tower was built just for him to knock over. To top it off, both the brother and the sister came with Rondel over to the new tower, watched him knock it over, and cheered gleefully with him over its demise. Over the course of the next 15 minutes or so, as their dad and I continued to build towers for Rondel to knock over, this little boy kept bouncing back out of his fort to cheer for Rondel every time he brought a tower down.

His other-centered attitude, his ability to see a mutually positive solution to their conflict, and his proactivity in making that solution a reality blew me away. I hope Rondel and Limerick can grow into that kind of maturity at that early of an age as well!

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