KC ran sobbing into the house last night He and Lissa had been playing outside with the little boy from next door. I asked what was wrong and he was sobbing so hard I could barely understand but eventually he hiccuped out that "ben was going to tell you I wasn't a good friend." Apparently the little triad had a difference of opinion over what to play and things got a bit testy on all parts. When Ben told KC he was going to tell me what was up, KC pushed Ben and then came running home in tears.
I know that the prevailing wisdom is that kids are supposed to work these things out on their own. I read article after article on how that is supposed to be so healthy. I personally beg to differ. Maybe for older kids it is. But for my younger kids, not so much. And the little guy next door has a disabled younger brother whose every response to a frustration is physical or with a scream.
I asked KC what he thought I would have said if Ben had just come to tell me that he was not being a good friend--especially if he had let that happen and kept his hands to himself. He stopped and thought about it and said he guessed he didn't know. I asked if he thought he would be in trouble for having a different opinion. He agreed that he wouldn't. He finally thought a little more and said he guessed I probably would have wanted to just have Ben talk with me and with him. I agreed that was the case.
The rest of the conversation was mostly about how this is not a case of "tattling" but rather that we all need help figuring out the best choice from time to time. Ben needs to know he can always ask for help and that I won't always agree with him but that we will always listen to his words. Because that is being a good friend. KC needs to remember that coming and looking for help is a better choice than anger and using hands.
I think mostly KC was mortified at the idea that he was being considered not a good friend. He feels things keenly but he is also so emotional that he sometimes reacts without thinking something all the way through. I wonder if there are any correlaries between the increase in our kids inability to handle situations appropriately and the "hands off let them figure it out" school of thought? Just wondering. . .