Having three children has been a real eye-opener for me. My husband laughs at me because I just cannot understand how we can be driving along and everyone is happy and in a good mood, and then someone has to go and poke someone else, take something, or say something to "break" the good feelings in the air. He had two brothers.
I will have to admit that I have a low tolerance for arguing, bickering, and pestering amongst my children. I know many people let their kids "work it out" by allowing them to argue, bicker, and I have even seen wrestling and pushing. Whoever gives up first, "loses" and the other person "gets his/her way." This does not work for me.
This is why one of my most favorite things I learned at the Montessori school in which I taught was the concept of the Peace Rose. I absolutely love the idea of children working out their differences and coming to a resolution to their conflict on their own by learning the skill of compromising. I truly believe they learn to see things from another person's viewpoint using the Peace Rose and learn empathy for other people, and also learn the ability to state clearly their wants and needs (something I still have difficulty doing today).
I don't have a rose around the house, and I always kept forgetting to pick one up as I ran my errands. However, I had a large stone that I had picked up from a clearance rack at a craft store. At the time, I didn't know what I was going to do with it, but it was so captivating, I knew I could find a good use for it. I did --- it is our version of the Peace "Rose."
Whenever my children have a conflict, or I hear voices begin hitting that shrill decibel level that sends chills up my spine, I announce "it seems like this is a matter for our Peace Stone." The kids take the stone to the "resolution spot." Our spot is a window seat. They are to sit at the resolution spot.
1. One child holds the peace stone and states their problem, feeling about the situation.
2. The other person listens. Only the person with the stone can talk.
3. The person talking must use a calm tone and say their feelings about the situation. No blaming, name-calling, or things that have happened in the past. They use "I feel" and "I would like" statements.
4. They sit in the resolution spot until they agree to a compromise.
I will admit, it did not go smoothly the first ten, twelve, fifteen times, especially since the kids are younger. However, it finally became something that they are able to handle working out on their own, without my intervention (at least 95% of the time).