When my boys were little they would get into normal kid disputes and then run to me to solve the problem. Around the age of 5, I started to tell them, they needed to do their best to solve problems on their own, and if they couldn’t they needed to bring me 3 solutions to chose from.
I suggested 3 solutions, because each boy would have their own idea, clearly skewed to get the outcome they wanted, but having to think of a 3rd solution before running to Mom, often resulted in them settling things themselves.
One of my favorite memories is when they were around 9 years old. They were cutting up the last of a dessert square and one was whining and complaining that one slice was slightly larger and fighting about who should get it. I told them if they couldn’t find a way to stop bickering there would be no treats to share, and I placed both plates on a higher shelf and told them they couldn’t have any, until they could find a solution to this constant fighting on the same subject.
They both retreated to their room, now madder at me than they were with each other. Behind the closed bedroom door, I could hear them discussing solutions that might work. Eventually they emerged looking rather triumphant.
They had decided that going forward, they would each take a turn on cutting on the cookie, cake, or brownie. The person cutting would do their best to make them equal in size, and the other brother – who could only watch, would then make the first choice of which piece to enjoy.
I couldn’t help but laugh to myself – as I immediately knew that the kid doing the cutting was going to do their very best to ensure that both pieces were equal – for fear of losing out on the bigger slice. To this day, that memory brings a smile to my face.
Have you Considered your Children’s Future YET?