Conflict with Peers/Cousins/Others
This week we are going to be talking about conflict with peers, friends, cousins etc.
First and foremost, this is my philosophy.
If a kid misspells a word, do we warn them, put them in timeout or turn their card to red. NO. Because they haven't learned the correct way. Same thing with behavior, if you have not taken time to teach it. That's step one. NOT timeouts or consequences. But this is a foreign idea and it is HARD. So I'm gonna support you!!!
So we will start with teaching, then preventing, then encouraging and we will end the week with consequences. Because teaching and preventing always, always comes first.
If a child does something you have never seen them do before to another child. Our instant reaction is to be embarrassed. "He never does that, I don't know what's gotten into him."
Nothing. They just are starting to want more things, but still don't have the skills to communicate them.
And also, there's NOTHING wrong with you and your parenting if your child hits a kid, yells at a kid... etc etc. YOU are amazing. YOU love your child. That's enough. Don't attach your worth or their worth to the behavior.
Okay, so here's what you do.
1. Go to the victim first. (If your child is the victim, this is the only part your need to do). We need to teach assertiveness. Ask the child, did you like that? *connect* "Say to your cousin, I didn't like it when you _ will you please _" *praise*
2. Now go yo your child who needs help with a new skill. Connect with them. Assume positive intention. Hey buddy, you wanted Sammy to listen. (behavior) so you yelled at her (missing skill) instead of asking her nicely. (set limit) We don't yell at others. (teach) Can you say, Sammy, please __.
AND PRAISE THE HECK OUT OF IT.
If they have never learned that skill, do not take them to time out. Teach them. Have them repeat. PRAISE. And then make sure you make a mental note to practice and roll play this situation again and again at home.
Prepare for common behaviors.
If your child punched a kid last time you were on the playground, they need you RIGHT by their side the next several times.
If they ALWAYS start off fighting over toys, then start the play with them and move away.
If a cousin-combo always causes an emotional reaction for your child... talk about it in the car. Bring up scenarios. When this happen _ what can you do? What if...? How would you? Talk about it, help their mind exercise.
Roll play and practice. I do have an IGTV video about this one and sharing, but adapt it to whatever your child needs!
If a conflict is happening, try positive support strategies first.
Two choices is always a good go to.
Use anything that you talked about while prepping for this. Like how me and Charlie go over "if you want a turn, what do you say?" "turn" Older kids can practice full sentences and ask for what they need ... so now in this situation where they need to take turns, I prompt what he's already been learning about "turn." And then I guide him through giving the other child a turn too.
Let's talk about consequences.
If you have taught the skills that should be used.
And aggression or extreme conflict is still happening. There needs to be a consequence for these choices.
The goal remains that you want the child to learn the new skill and do it differently, but now they also need to feel the impact of their choice.
So your child hits. You set him up for success, guide him through the interaction. Set the limit, and let him know what happens if he hits again. Practice at home. Take him through his interaction the first few minutes of play, prepare him "okay if you are feeling frustrated, what can you do" "I can ask for help" you walk away and BAM he hits, again. Time for a consequence. Okay, it looks like you made the choice to play on your own by mom and dad. That's sad, next time you can choose to get help before hitting. *put by mom/dad* When he's playing well, problem solve for next time and repeat.
Lauren Pace, MS | Parenting Coach | Child Behavior Coach | Logan, Utah | WA | Online