Letting kids solve their own problems

Thanks to Rational Jenn and her constant reminder to use positive discipline, the following conversation  just took place.

B: Dad, A wants to jump 11 more times and I don't want her too.

Me: Well, lets go see what we can do about this.

Me to A: B says you want to jump 11 more times.

A: Well, he got to jump 5 times and said I can only jump 3 times.  I want to do more than 5.

B:  How about you jump 8 times?

A: I only want to jump 8 or 11 times, so 8 is perfect.

B: Okay.

Completely and totally arbitrary numbers, but at least they solved their disagreement themselves.  Parenting win!


  1. Mindy Newton11:03 PM

    I don't see how this doesn't teach arbitrary rather than just or proportional access to a shared toy.

  2. Mindy, Oh come on. I didn't teach them anything. They did all the negotiations themselves and that is the whole point of my post. And my kids are 4 and 5 - seemingly arbitrary proclamations to us are their attempts to understand and put order to the world. Lastly, trying to impose my standards on their play time is not just or proportional access. I did not know the entire context of THEIR problem because - I was in a different room. Maybe A had only jumped once prior to B's turn. Maybe she had jumped twice, or 3 time. They reached an agreement that they thought was just and that is what's important.