Jade: Jakei, are we sharing?
Jade: Here you go, Jakei. This is yours. (a few seconds elapse) Mama! Jakei and I are sharing.
Within a few minutes of having overheard this conversation, I hear a resounding “Ahhhh!” followed by the sound of two toddlers screaming their lungs out, arms poised for either defense or offense. Thankfully, a stern warning of “No hitting and no hurting” is still enough to prevent them from lunging at each other in full fury.
Both toddlers are reprimanded for their behavior and a lesson about sharing and loving each other ensues. After heartfelt “Sorry, Ate Jade” and “Sorry, Jakei” are uttered and a big hug exchanged, the toddlers are soon happily playing with each other again.
No, this is not a one-time incident. This scenario happens several times a week and at times even occurs several times in a day. I used to get really stressed over their fights until Mom reminded me that my sisters and I have had our share of bickering and catfights when we were growing up. Of course we never encourage squabbles nor tolerate any act of aggression but we have come to accept that having quarrels is part of their development.
So, how do we deal with our toddlers’ squabbles?
No finger pointing. Young as they are, we make it a point to talk to them in a mature way. We ask them what happened but we do not put the blame on only one child. They are always both held accountable for what happened.
We impose punishments. The toddlers are usually made to stand and face the wall for several minutes. The length of which depends on the severity of their misbehavior. Hitting and throwing things at each other sometimes warrant a firm pat on the hands.
We turn squabbles into learning opportunities. Once arguments are resolved, a brief discussion about sharing, respect, obedience, love, or whatever values need to be reinforced follows. Toddlers nowadays are quite mature for their age. You’d be surprised at how much they understand the life lessons we share with them.
Now whenever an argument ensues between the toddlers, I just sigh a little and play the arbiter when the need arises. Then each night I pray that they would outgrow these squabbles and grow up as best of friends.
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