Rules of engagement

  • Mom, my friend tried to choke me.
  • Did he succeed?
  • No. But…
  • Ask him to never do that again. And please don’t tattletale.
  • OK.

[5 minutes later]

  • Mom, my friend didn’t let me speak at all. So I couldn’t ask him to not choke me anymore.

[he was now present, visibly embarrassed]

  • Ok. Let’s set some rules of conduct ( I say with a kind voice)

[More banter and justification.] 

  • Ok. I would like you to not be so grumpy, easily offended and talk like that to me (says the boy)
  • Ok. I’m sorry. And you stop hurting me, trying to choke me or pinching me. (Says the girl)
  • Ok. I’m sorry. 

And that was that.

I don’t want to meddle too much into children’s play. They make mistakes and they find their boundaries, with a little help. I am amazed that they have the tools to express themselves and the empathy and motivation to remain engaged. 

I don’t take it personal. I don’t think they were in any danger. And I am glad that they are learning to push back and accept other kids’ boundaries. 

Seeing kids talk frankly and make up is fascinating.