“Should I intervene, or let them work it out?” This is the question every parent contemplates when kids argue with each other. Two opinions prevail: “Yes, intervene! It’s worse when they are left to work it out themselves,” or “No, they will never learn to get along with others if an adult manages their squabbles.” In truth, most parents respond far less consistently during an argument, staying out of it until they just can’t take the fighting anymore, then swooping in to strong-arm the situation into resolution.
This may sound cynical, but bear with me. When someone pays you to help a child, you’re a good psychologist. When you try in vain to help a child, and then the child succeeds in spite - not because - of your help, you’re a good mother. I feel qualified to make this distinction because I’ve been both psychologist and mother.
Discipline is a complex matter. The days are long and complications abound - there are many, many things we must get our children to do, or stop them from doing - all day, every day. Add the fact that children don’t always listen to us, or do the things we want them to do, and you can understand why parenting is a challenge!
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