Child quarrel,

The dispute over the cloth

Practice conflict culture from an early age. Here is a case study

Michael (3) is playing with a brightly colored cloth. When little Emma reaches for it, he defends his treasure and there is a little tussle. Emma's mother wants to avoid quarrels and offers her daughter her own handkerchief: “Look, there you have it!” The dispute is resolved and the children continue to play peacefully.

Practice conflict culture from an early age

A great opportunity was missed here to practice conflict culture with the young children. At the age of 15 months, Emma can learn to express her will other than by screaming and tugging, even non-verbally. The mother could teach her, “If you want something, clap your hands. That means “please, please!” The little magic word already has a big meaning. It would certainly have motivated Michael to be generous. If not, Emma's mother could still have intervened for her daughter and asked: "Michael, can you borrow your handkerchief to Emma for a while?" And then praise him for his friendliness. If he still wants to set himself apart and keep his treasure to himself, it is his right. Emma's mother can comfort her daughter and teach her to respect the will of other children, with or without a substitute object.

Do not rush to patronize children

Characteristic of this little scene is the reflex of many adults to solve their children's problems in their place so as not to let a quarrel arise - especially in a strange environment, when one is also worried about one's own image. However, it is much more important to teach children to speak for themselves from an early age, to assert themselves fairly, but also to respect the boundaries of others. Often the conflict is fueled by devaluing children when they say no (“But that's not nice of you") or forcing her to give in ("You can see that she is crying. Now borrow it to her quickly!") It would be better to say: "Emma will be happy if you borrow her the handkerchief for a while."

Nothing speaks against letting children resolve their conflicts themselves and observing whether they even need our help in order to act as mediators and not as arbitrators.

Maria Neuberger-Schmidt

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