Every day when it is time to go get Matteo from Kindergarten (at 10:30), Julian whines & throws a fit because he does NOT want to go get his brother.
Because the second Matteo runs out of school, the fights begin. They race to the car, & Matteo always insists on beating his brother there. Then they fight over who gets in their seat first. Then they fight about who wins “the buckle race.” Then they fight about who gets what water bottle or random toy from the floor of the car. When we get home, they race to the door & begin fighting over toys, shows, & snacks.
I don’t blame Julian… It is stressful & exhausting. And I had had enough. It was time to get real with Matteo.
I told Matteo that I needed to talk to him, & I calmly told him the following…
“When it is time to come pick you up from school, your brother does not want to come get you b/c you are not kind to him. You don’t ever let him win. You take toys he is playing with. You argue with him. And that is not fun for him. I know that you know how to be very nice, & you need to start being nicer to your brother.”
I knew that this would hurt Matteo’s feelings. It made him sad, & he punched the couch a few times & pouted.
But when he recovered, he went over & snuggled with his brother & gave him a kiss. He asked Julian what he wanted to play & brought him his favorite toys.
It was a reminder to me that sometimes protecting our children from the realities of how they are perceived is not helpful for anyone. Sometimes our children need to feel embarrassment, remorse, & sadness in order to learn that their actions have consequences.
A lot of my parenting philosophies circle around having my children understand the why behind the things I want them to do. I want you to clean up so that we have more room to play & our house looks nice (not b/c you will get a treat). I want you to share your toys b/c it makes other kids happy (not b/c there is a threat of timeout).
It is hard to remember to do this day in & day out, & I have definitely strayed from this method lately. I am going to try to do a better job, & I hope you’ll join me 🙂