Reading my kid's mind

This weekend I luckily turned a bad situation into a good one.  It all started when my two oldest kids were playing in the Family Room.  "A" my oldest is a 5 1/2 year old boy who loves to play with other people.  "B" my daughter is 4, loves her big brother, but sometimes gets really pissed at him.  "A" grabbed on of "B"s stuffed animals and proceeded to abuse it, so "B" left the room crying.

After I heard her whimpering down in the basement, I went to go check on her and comfort her.  After she settled down a bit, we agreed to play with her play-dough together.  Then along comes "A".  He came down and asked "B" if he could play too.  She was still mad at him, so she said no.  "A", not letting someone else's answer stop him, proceeded to keep bugging "B" to see if she would let him play now (as if waiting 1.5 seconds between each request makes a difference).  I asked him to find something else to play with as she had clearly made her wishes clear.  He refused and ended up squishing one of her play-dough designs.  At this point, I requested he leave the room and escorted him back up stairs.  That's when things starting deteriorating even more. He refused to stay up stairs and I refused to let him back down because I was afraid he would continue to annoy his sister.  Stalemate!

Then I realized something.

I asked him "You really want to play with your sister don't you?"
A: Crying "Yes"
Me: "And you don't like it that she doesn't want to play with you?"
A: Still crying "No"
Me:  "I have an idea.  Why don't you write a note to your sister saying you're sorry?  Maybe then she'll want to play with you again."
A:  Short silence. "Would you get me a sheet of paper?"

I did!  FAST!  And about a minute later, he came down with his note, cut out in the shape of a heart and handed it too her.  It read "Im sre that I smosed yor plado"  (I'm sorry that I smooched your playdough).  "B" read the note (with my help interpreting), and A and B were best friends again.  Problem solved!

All I had to do was read my son's mind.  Luckily, I know him really well.  I know that he's a people person and loves his sister to death.  I know that he would do whatever is necessary to play with her, but that sometimes he just doesn't know how to articulate his thoughts.  It wasn't until I realized his problem that we were able to solve our stalemate.

Now if only I can remember this the next time...


  1. Nice work. I'm sure you'll have no problem using it again.

    I noticed, growing up, that sometimes it is harder that it should be, in a family, to remember that we all love one another.

    (Regarding reading yer kid's mind ... personally, I have a tough enough time reading my own mind ... )

  2. That is awesome. Unbearably cute and funny.

  3. I need to think faster on my feet when my son gets defiant. Defiance is something I can't stand. My initial reaction is to get alpha male. And I'm definitely not an alpha male. More like an omega male. Which is probably why I can't pull it off . . . .

  4. Robert,
    Thanks. I hope I do remember. The problem is, once I get emotionally agitated, I tend to forget these lessons.

    Yes it is. That's why I love my kids so dearly.

    I was the same way at first (still am at times), but I found some good inspiration in the "Positive Discipline" books and Faber & Mazlish books. They've helped me to look for win-win solutions in this situations.

  5. You brought him out by treating both children with justice. She deserved to be left alone, he deserved to be moved aside. Once he knew he was ostracized, he was willing to examine his behavior. Had you not done the that, and stuck by it, he would not have had to think, and to merely cry for what he wanted.

    Well done.