The art of reconciliation among children

Photography: Poppy Peterson Photography

By Megen Hibbins

Reconciliation can be a difficult balance to achieve, especially when the forces of negativity are well and truly at play. So how do we get our children to take a step back, breathe and communicate what they are feeling before it becomes a volatile and physical situation? 

I use many approaches with my children, especially as I see them as individuals with different needs and emotional idiosyncrasies.

This in itself with four small children can be a bit of a tightrope to balance on. Trying to get each one to stop and listen to each other can be a bit of a challenge, but in the end tends to play out in a rather reasonable way with a resolution at the end. 

But how can we do this without jumping in and taking charge of the situation, which takes the resolution out of their hands?

For me personally, I like to sit back and firstly listen to what is happening without getting involved, and have a bit of an idea as to what is going on. 

Luckily, things are generally sorted out between them and nothing more needs to happen, but as things start to get heated, I take a deep breath (calmness in the parent has to be the first step before the process starts) and walk out and ask the opposing parties to join me on the ground, so we can have a chat about what’s happening.

As a natural parent, I try to encourage each person, in turn, to discuss what has just happened and how it made him or her feel, remembering that each child has feelings wrapped up in this and that they both need the validation of this. The process is really simple and they realise quickly that both are hurting but in a different way and the problem becomes resolved quickly and simply. 

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