Updated: Dec 10, 2019
"How do I discipline? How do I teach my child? How do I make my child ..." The truth is, there is no silver bullet in parenting. Every child is unique, therefore your parenting approach must be unique too.
Because of this, there may be dozens of ways to handle a single type of challenge depending on the child involved, the parent involved, the past experiences, and the intended goal. Let’s explore:
Your kid and another are playing and they break into a fight about cars (could be hitting/screaming/yanking/shoving).
This is in no particular order, just 20 different ways that you MAY want to handle this situation or that another parent may handle this situation that are still all healthy and respectful.
1) "Oh, I hear you're upset. How can I help?"
2) *Shoot, we're late for snack, their blood sugar is low* "Snack time!"
3) Pick up the child and walk to a calmer place to discuss.
4) "This toy seems to be causing a big problem. I'm going to have this toy take a break while we calm down."
5) "Gentle hands/soft voices please."
6) "I notice you've been upset since mom left, do you want a hug/cuddle/to sit with me and read?"
7) Stay out of it and watch to see how they handle it (done when aware that both partied are capable).
8) Singing "find a way to plaaaaay together" from Daniel Tiger.
9) Stand nearby - proximity can be enough.
10) Say very little as both share their story, "hmmmm," "oh." *nod* Once they are done venting they may be fine. If not ask, "What do you want to do?"
11) Sportscast-playful: "I see Tommy wants the car that is in Calvin's hands. Calvin is holding tight, Tommy is trying to pry it away. I wonder what will happen next!" Sometimes this playful play-by-play helps them to reset.
12) Say what you see: "Oh, I see Calvin's face is so red. He is MAD! I saw Tommy hit him. He is so mad too. Both Tommy and Calvin want this car. I'm going to hold it in my hand while we find a solution."
13) Empathize. "You're so FRUSTRATED! You want that car!" Sometimes just relating to them eases their tension enough.
14) "Let's solve this problem. Could you take turns? Or is there another car that's red too?"
15) "I'll set a timer so you each get a turn. How many minutes? 2? Ok."
16) "Tommy, you can have a turn when Calvin is all done. I'll wait with you. What should we do while we wait?"
17) Play: Become the mutual enemy. "This car? This one right here...well this is a blue car and I'M a blue car monster. I hope no one takes the blue cars I hide in this basket. Oh there's one over there...ahhhh my blue car is missing...no matter I will put THIS one in the basket... and I'll walk over here to get another...ahhhhh my other blue car is missing! Hmph... what about THIS blue car... this will stay with me...AHHH it's been taken too - Do you kids know what happened to my cars?"
18) Get on their level and say "I won't let you hit/scratch/bite." Use your own hands/body to block. "You can say STOP! *teach ASL sign* instead."
19) Start playing a game nearby they can join - like racing the cars or building a garage for them. One or both kids may shift gears.
20) Start some music to dance/sing and ease tension.
What you WON'T see as a S.U.R.E. Parenting recommendation: hitting, yelling, shaming (bad boy), or isolating (time out) - there are so many other healthier options. Check out the YouTube video on this topic - you can share on your Social Media!