The older kids were playing a game. Suddenly, they were strongly disagreeing on how the came should be played. I almost handled it in a not so gentle way. I almost stepped in and told them to play different games. Instead I repeated what was going on.
“You both want to be a dragon in this game. Each of you says there can only be one dragon.”
At first they just agreed with my statement, aggravated about the whole situation. Each saying why they should be the dragon. This would have been my usual spot to try to get them to take turns, play a different game, or do it one or the other ways. I am working on not taking sides. I am working on them learning how to solve their problems with each other. I am not stepping out completely and letting them “work it out” as some would say. I am still apart of this. I am working on helping them problem solve with each other, with my guidance so that each person feels heard and safe. It is not easy for me. I have to take some big breaths. Fighting is a trigger for me.
“You really want the game to go this certain way, only one dragon, but both of you want to be the dragon so much.”
I doubt myself. Stepping in and “putting my foot down” would be faster. This is not who I want to be. This does not teach life skills, communication, compromise, negotiation.
“I know!”, Hailey exclaims. “We can be a two headed dragon. That way we both can be a dragon, but there is only one dragon all together.” Elijah agrees. He is happy with this situation. I am impressed by the creative idea. I would not have thought about that solution. I would not have seen the problem solving if I had stepped in and dished out a solution.