Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Discipline--Part 2 or "this bird's gotta sing a different tune"

This is what I heard coming from T2's room today:

"Give it to me!  GIVE IT TO ME!!!  GIVE IT TOOOOOO MEEEEEEE!!!!!"

Each time the screech was more shrill than the previous one.  An eagle was after my young in that room.


Despite her very vocal and LOUD demands, T1 grabbed the piece of s*** toy treasure that she insisted he not touch.  Soon after this --  "MOMMMMMMM!!"

When I arrived in the room, both kids raised their voices in a kind of song of explanation that was both strangely melodic and ear splitting at the same time.  I don't know about you, but I've become very adept at discerning one voice from the other when they're both yelling at me at the same time.  I knew my job in this moment.  I needed to stop the screaming and restore the blissful play that was ensuing before the "CAW, CAW" of the mynah bird in protest. I needed to hear both of them out and decide how to fairly (oh how that word permeates the world of twins or multiple-child families) resolve the situation.

The resultant action is not important (I separated the little buggers and gave them a minute to cool off before T2 decided it was okay for him to touch it after all).  What is important is that I need to somehow teach my little dictator how to compassionately share the activity while still maintaining her sense of truth to herself.

She's a "strong-willed" child.  Her teacher says she's hugely competitive and often tells the teacher how she thinks the day should go.  I kind of like this leadership quality.  I think, and I've been told many times, that this quality is a good one for young women needing to prove themselves in life.  A strong female will lead and not be a push over when she does not believe in the course of action in her life.  Case in point:  my friend's daughter, now grown, told her junior high friends that she couldn't watch a PG-13 movie until she was 13.  That was her mother's rule, and she stuck by it, no matter what all her friends were doing.  I definitely want T2 to hold her own and call on her values when her friends say, "everyone's putting up slutty photos on MySpace; you should do it too."  Likewise, my niece, one of the most compassionate people I know, was extremely insistent about getting her way as a child.  Now 19, she's winning awards from the ACLU for her civil rights work.  There's hope for T2, me thinks.

In the meantime, I have reinstated the zero-tolerance for violence action of a time out for an infraction.  I believe this has to include the verbal lashings that T2's brother gets on a regular basis.  Maybe, over time, she'll begin to see that she can sweetly manipulate compromise and still maintain her sense of self.  I know I'll appreciate the sweet trills of the songbird over the shrieking bird of prey.


Existential Waitress said...

I don't have twins, however my kids are just two years apart (almost to the day) so I understand the challenge in trying to be "fair" at all times. Sometimes I feel like a crime scene investigator when it comes to trying to deduce "who started it." LOL. And slutty myspace pictures? I think I just got (another?) gray hair! LOL.

notmytree said...

Aw, thanks. (:
As for your judgement, while I have no experience whatsoever in child-rearing (and hopefully won't for a while!), I completely agree that your zero-tolerance for violence policy should include saying mean things and harsh yelling. Sometimes it's words that hurt the most.
I also love T2's headstrong nature, and it'll serve her well in the long run once she learns to empathize better, but in the mean time, T1 shouldn't be taken advantage of. Sometimes I get the feeling it affects him more than he lets on.
I miss you guys so much! Give everybody hugs for me. <3