Playground negotiation stresses me out. I hate it.
There. I've said it.
It stresses me out to be all, OK, sweetie you are having a turn, and then in five minutes this other kid we've never seen before who we know wants your truck because he's pulling on one end and won't let go can take a turn, just because he's asking for it.
Sometimes the parent of the aggressor get involved and back their kid off. This is what I do if it's my kid, because sometimes it is. But when they do nothing, then really I want to say, "Listen, kid we don't know, let go of the fucking truck. My kid is playing with it. There are 45 other options in the sandbox. Pick one and let my kid play."
Now that I'm writing this out, maybe I should say a gentler version of that? You know, without the fuck word and the vitriol?
I used to jump in immediately but now I try to hang back a bit to see if the kids will sort it out. Because it's a skill, right, learning to solve conflict? But Jordan, strong as he is, is prone to bursting into tears or crying and screaming about a toy being taken. So then I feel like I have to do something.
I want to be all, "You're big and strong! Defend your toy if you want to! It's your toy!" I know he's never going to be a bully. But he doesn't know how to defend himself. We've started karate to help build self-esteem and skills.
But you know, I was thinking about how we make our kids do something that we do not do as adults.
I mean, if I were waiting on the Metro platform listening to music on my phone and a stranger came over and wanted to use it, I wouldn't be all, "Well, I'm having a turn now, but in a couple minutes you can have a turn."
Right? You're on the bus reading a book and your seat-mate wants it. Do you read a couple more pages and then hand it over in the interest of cooperation? No.
If I know you and like
you, I'll happily give you a turn with whatever. Or share my snacks. Anything. In fact, if I've just
met you but I like you immediately, I'll do the same.
But otherwise? No.
However, we're telling our kids that they need to share with humans they do not know. Be nice. Share. Give them a turn. Some complete little stranger has come along and asked for your stuff, and in five minutes you need to let them use it.