We are very fortunate parents. Our three kids are 2 years apart from each other in age, and have always been each others’ best friends. To this day, now in their 20’s, they continue to rely on and support each other, and together keep each others’ secrets from us. But, because they are so close, they’ve also always known how to push each others’ buttons. Now, as adults, the button pushing is in a playful way. But there were times, when they were younger…
They were 5, 3, and almost 1 year old and everything that our oldest touched became our middle child’s obsession. If he was playing with a toy truck, she needed the truck. If he had a snack, she wanted to share it with him. If he was watching his favorite show, she wanted to watch her show instead on the same TV.
One day we pulled our 5 year old aside and taught him a trick – “psychology.” If his sister grabbed the toy he was playing with, pretend he didn’t want it anymore, and she would move on to something else. If he was eating a snack and she reached for it, let her have it and she’d lose interest. It worked for a while. When he’d forget and become upset at his sister’s pestering, we’d remind him, “Remember to use psychology” and he’d feign disinterest to win back his territory.
I guess we’d reminded him once too often within earshot of his sister, because one day she went after his baseball mitt and he walked away saying, “You can have it, I don’t want it anymore,” just like we taught him. She looked frustrated, ran after him, and said, “Don’t use Chology on me!”
Now, 20 years later, we wonder if those early experiences led to our daughter’s becoming a psychologist. Finally, she gets to use “chology” on others. And maybe to our son’s becoming a lawyer – he’s apparently found another strategy for dealing with conflict.
More at www.noregretsparenting.com