Staylistening – In Stereo

My daughters, 2 and 4, were playing together in the family room while I was busy in the kitchen. The girls began squabbling over a pull toy. They came in the kitchen screaming and pulling at the toy and needing my help. I put my hand on the pull toy and said, “Girls, I don’t know who had this first, but I do know that you can work it out, and until one of you are ready to share, no one gets the toy.”

In stereo, they began crying loudly. Every so often I would interject with the question, ‘Are you ready to share?’ as I held my hand on the toy. Both responded with a resounding “No!” followed by escalated crying. After 10 minutes, my husband came in and said, ‘How do you know you’re not hurting them or making things worse?’ I had to shout over their wailing that we were on the right track and even predicted that, at the end of all this, one sister would genuinely give the toy to the other.

My husband looked at me with disbelief and went back to the family room. After another five minutes, the youngest stopped crying and went in the other room and began playing with daddy. At that point, my eldest flung her arms around me and sobbed heavily. After another five minutes, her mood and outlook shifted and she became calm and playful. She stated, “I’m ready to share now.” 

I suggested she give the toy to her sister. She brought the toy to the other room and, with a smile on her face, gave it to her sister. Her sister, of course, no longer had any interest in the toy. My husband had a look of disbelief, but this time with a smile across his face.

– a mom in California

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