It was a Sunday afternoon. DeeDee and MeeMee just had lunch in the hall, while AhMah was in the room child-minding the children.
“Waaaaa!!! I want MeeMee!” cried BoiBoy.
The room door opened and the children ran into the hall. MeeMee heard AhMah explained to DeeDee about how the children were arguing over a toy, as she cleared the table of the plates and leftovers.
“They children should be tired, after our morning groceries trip.” MeeMee thought, and quickly requested DeeDee to lay the mattresses on the floor for the afternoon nap. BoiBoy was seated on the mattresses as MeeMee and DeeDee stepped into the room.
MeeMee asked “Why did you cry?“.
DeeDee replied, in a story-telling tone “GerGer snatched BoiBoy’s toy and BoiBoy snatched GerGer’s toy in return, right?“. BoiBoy looked at MeeMee. His lips were pouted, eyes were red as if he has built up sad emotions. At this moment, MeeMee felt the importance of letting BoiBoy say his own story. Although there may only be one truth, each person in a story has his or her own version of the it, based on their unique perspective.
MeeMee said to DeeDee, “shall we listen to his very own version of the story?“, attempting to diffuse the quiet tension.
“So why did you cry, darling?” MeeMee asked BoiBoy.
“GerGer took a toy to put on the bed, and it knocked my head. I cried.” said BoiBoy.
MeeMee looked at DeeDee, and reinforced the importance of letting the children say their version of the story. “So you see, something happened in the room, which AhMah did not realise, could have influenced their willingness to share the toys. And because AhMah did not associate this incident to the fighting of toys, she did not tell you about it.“
DeeDee nodded in agreement.
I constantly remind myself about these pointers in my parenting journey:
1) to listen to my children with my heart, and repeating my message to them about no one is absolutely right or wrong because being part of the incident means that we have in one way or another influenced the outcome. And having a part in the outcome means we should take part responsibility for it, and not be upset with the others for causing us to be upset.
(2) infer the cause of their moods with my observations, and always remember that their lousy mood is usually largely affected by an unfulfilled basic need, e.g. fatigue, hunger, thirst, etc.