Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Coming to Consensus

Yesterday, as two five year old boys played together at the clinic, it became harder and harder to keep them in the same game and physical location.  They had played together well through a game of Trouble (modified rules) and they took turns in a little building project, sitting side-by-side and sometimes giving one another suggestions but near the end of the hour, they were tired of working together. The boys were at opposite sides of the room.

I asked them both to sit backwards on two chairs that were close together--which was novel enough to keep them seated next to one another for a bit.  Do you boys want to play the Bunny Game or Shoot with the Shooting Ice Cream Cone?  I asked.  Shoot!  shouted Andy.  I do not agree!  said Charles who understood that my objective was to find something they both wanted to do.  It went on like this through several more choices, where one of the boys would want to play a game and the other would not--probably as a matter of principle.  The pattern was set and I knew we were not going to reach an agreement anytime soon.

I thought carefully, hoping to help them get unstuck from the pattern of disagreeing.  Do you want to go outside and swing together or do you want to sit here and argue about what you are going to do?  Our play yard has not been used since last fall but it was a gloriously warm day and I thought they would be eager to get outside.  Their eyes lit up at this suggestion and both boys agreed right away.  Argue! they shouted.  I gave up and said, Come on boys, let's get outta here and swing!

1 comment:

Deb said...

That made me smile! :) I have to say with my little one (who is 2 1/2 and just getting verbal) I don't mind the arguing yet with his sister. Saying "my turn!" angrily is communicating, the way I look at it. I'm sure in time as the communication grows I will not feel the same way. :)