Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Resolving Conflict -- and the Fear thereof

It took a bit more doing to get my teens past their Thursday evening debacle. It had truly escalated to physical shoving, crying, screaming, and more before I came home. It was a lot to expect that one evening of listening, reassuring, advising, counseling would solve it.

Monday evening we were yet again together after our relatively tranquil weekends apart. And, my elder girl was loath to remain in the house alone with Gaetan when I went to drive Leo to his handball practice. Both she and our young and active boy came along with me rather than stay in the house. And of course little girl. She's basically stuck to me like glue. Thus, only Gaetan and Jonas stayed home and enjoyed the great weather outdoors, biking, playing, etc., Goodness!

So, I started back in, trying to explain why perhaps Gaetan had been so maladroit, and urging resolution, forgiveness... I wasn't getting very far. Ears were closed, self-pity was rampant, it just didn't seem to be a mental or emotional space condusive to understanding the enemy, much less forgiving him.

However, I insisted, and when we returned home, I sent the three of them into the boys' room and said, talk, listen, get to the bottom of this please. You are all good kids, no one was mean or evil, and you are all hurting from the compounded misunderstandings of the other day. My big girl was terrified, and literally in tears at the thought. I reassured her that Gaetan is a gentle and good being, if occasionally prone to saying foolish things. Go, I said, speak and listen.

I wondered if I should explain the rules of the peace talk -- give them a baton or a stick or something to replace the pipe as a signal to designate that moment's speaker -- but they managed, and fifteen minutes later, there was laughter and calm.


We're not totally over the hump -- there are factions and clans settling in and even today, I needed to help negotiate the sharing of my ladder (two different plans for tree houses were in effect, Gaetan and Jonas on one, the other two and Leo on the other).

I am not managing a low-maintenance household, but I certainly am honing my adolescent negotiating skills. How long is the training to become a child psychologist??


Zuleme said...

You could say you've had plenty of life experience towards that degree!

Madeleine Vedel said...

and gaining more daily!