February 27, 2005

Swapping Punches

For a few hours last night, I allowed two twelve-year-olds, Sweet One and her best friend, to baby-sit four-year-old Wee One while I visited with friends, literally next door.

It was a test of twelve-year-old maturity and responsibility.

It was also a test of four-year-old self-control.

All yesterday afternoon, I had all three girls running around the house. The older girls often shared inside jokes at Wee One's expense. In turn, Wee One threw fits often and eventually resorted to hitting the older girls.

Now this hitting business has been a problem that has escalated over recent weeks. Conservative measures such as "time-out" have been tried, as well as not-so-conservative measures as spanking. All to no avail.

Yesterday evening, just before I left them, I decided to try a different approach when Wee One hit one of the big girls again. Both big girls knew they were not to hit back. However, with all three young ladies in attention, I told Wee One that she should not hit anyone, especially someone bigger than her.

She began to whine and cry at being admonished. Then I added: "Listen carefully, if you hit one of the big girls again, each of them has my permission to punch you right back. Do you understand?"

Wee One was aghast.

Big girls were gleeful.

I then turned to the big girls and told them just one hit and not to overdue it.


When I returned last night, Wee One had taken a bath without fit or complaint and gone to bed as scheduled. There had been no fights.

Simply amazing.

Posted by Christina at February 27, 2005 10:52 PM


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