snowy dialog revisited

October 11, 2009 at 6:20 am Leave a comment

snowydialog

Jen read the snowy dialog from a few months ago and wondered…

Okay I’ve been thinking about this one overnight. (Devil’s advocate here, I really love your stuff and I’m excited to be learning about it and using it!) I feel like this exchange took advantage of the older child. Let’s say Xi was a younger child, not so passive, and snatched the bear back from Echo. What then?

So here is the hypothetical dialog if Xi were to grab it out of Echo’s hands. This is what I would strive for in any case.

Echo: (screeching, crying)

Me: Hey Xi you just grabbed that out of Echo’s hands!

Xi: Yeah, ‘cuz Nallie I wasn’t done with Snowy. She was watching me do Webkinz!

Me: (probably holding Echo) You’re really sad Echo. Are you mad too?

Echo:Yeah! I want that girl.

Me: You do want Snowy. You want her really badly. Xi, you must have been really frustrated. You really wanted Snowy too. You wanted her so badly that you pulled her out of Echo’s hands.

Xi: Yeah. Well I was affraid she wouldn’t give her back. And I really want her to stay clean. And Snowy is really special to me.

Me: I know she is. Snowy is really special to you. From Echo’s point of view Snowy was just sitting there and even though Snowy is special to you, all the toys at this house are for everyone to play with.

Echo: I really want her! Xi!

Me: I know you do. I am helping you. Xi, I really don’t like it that you grabbed Snowy from Echo because she learns from you and in this case she is learning that if she wants something then it is o.k., or even a good idea, to take it away from the other kid. I’d prefer that you talk to her, or get help from me, and I will talk to her. I want to help both of you. It is important to me that both of you get what you want.

Xi: And Bella too? You want Bella to get what she wants too?

Me: Yes. I want all of us to get what we want and I am always willing to help. I can help you with my words.

I’m not sure where we would go from there. Negotiations would continue, or Echo might become disinterested before the conversation was complete. I do know that I would NOT grab Snowy. I do know that I would continue to give as much empathy to the grabber as to the “victim”. I do know that it might take a lot of time.

Xi is older and therefore can handle more talk, she has more patience. Here is how the dialog might go if Echo and Xi were the same age(2), like in a playgroup scenario.

Snowy  is sitting near Xi. Echo picks her up. Xi grabs Snowy “back”.

Echo: screeching, crying

Xi:Mine!

Me: Oh Xi, Echo was trying to check out Snowy and have a turn. Echo you’re really upset that Xi took Snowy from you!

Echo: Yeah! I want her!

Xi: No! (maybe crying too)

Me: You really want her too, Xi. You don’t want Echo to play with Snowy. Are you willing to let her check her out for a little bit and I could be sure that you get Snowy back as soon as she’s done?

Xi: No.

Echo: Yes!

Me: Looks like Xi doesn’t want to share right now. You seem sad about that.

Echo: yes

Me: Echo is really sad about not getting to hold Snowy. She really wants to have a turn.

Xi: No

probably holding both girls at this point

Then we would probably offer both girls alternative toys to play with. They might want them, they might not. Echo might not get another turn with Snowy until Xi completely lost interest. Or maybe Xi would surprise us and hand Snowy over. This is hypothetical so it’s impossible to know for sure but we have seen all of these outcomes. In any case there would be no grabbing by the parents. No barking out “SHARE, Xi!”. Empathy for both girls. Lot’s of love and affection for both and maybe no obvious resolution (in the way that a parent might “set things right” or make it fair), but the girls do move on and they feel connected, loved, and understood.

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i feel…grateful my mind is not always a friend to my feelings

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