Recently I was a witness to a parent forewarning her younger daughter-“You tore your elder sister’s art work yesterday, now today she will tear yours”. The horror of the impending act was looming large on her face and she tried to hide her art work behind her frock.
We often adopt a Tit for Tat attitude to showcase how a particular behavior might pain the other person. Of course this strategy coming out of all the goodness with which we wish to inculcate fairness, sharing and empathy into our child. On the contrary a “Tit for Tat” may breed insecurity, jealousy, aggression, possessiveness and even competition among the siblings. It may set a precedent of an approved and accepted behavior into our children-“He spilled water on your notebook, it is alright to spill back over his”. This would also hamper our child from developing more creative ways to fight back with injustice, unfairness and aggression. In a worst scenario, the child may wallow into helplessness and self pity if he or she is not able to get even with the other child.
Two wrongs never make a right. We have lot of emphasis on empathy and compassion at our center. Yesterday while I was walking across, my foot banged against a slide. A 3 year old child watching from a distance, questioningly voiced-“Kiran, you got hurt”? This caught me pleasantly surprised and was so touching. It is important that concentration is not on the slide (and probably hitting the slide back in order to satisfy -See we hit the slide back, it is even now). The concentration is on the impact of the fall.
If our child has done something wrong to another child or to the sibling, it is important to walk the child through our modeling. “Oh, this art work was so dear to your sister. Now it is torn. She doesn’t look so happy now. What can we do to mend it?”. Then working together with children to look for ways to put it back. Imagine, all the excitement of the children while they scamper through glue, sellotapes et all. And finally a look of triumph when they are able to reach to a mutually acceptable end result.
This of course would take time and a calmness on our behalf. Once the children feel empowered enough to be able to solve their problems themselves within the boundaries of accepted behavior, we would start witnessing beautiful moments of self healing. This also helps the child into building better analytical and problem solving attitude.
The impact of reel cannot be undermined here. When our children come across moral stories and cartoons which showcase a Tit for Tat behavior, it would help to play down, challenge or discuss with our children all different ways in which the same situation could have been better handled.
Children are often more forgiving than adults!! Celebrate and capitalize on that. They have a life time to get adulterated while they adult-ize!!