Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Taking the High Road

"YOU are the MEANEST boy EVER!!!!!!!!"

This is a phrase that has been coming out of my four-year old daughter Kate's mouth repetitively as she and Sam, her seven-year old brother learn to work it out. 

"Sweet Mary Mother of God...kill me," is the phrase that I've been shouting internally as I listen to them create their own brand of conflict resolution.

Most of the time, the disagreements have to do with tromping on the others' territory, hitting, poking fun, or irritating the other while they're focused on their own thing.  Not entirely different from the vast majority of conflicts we see in the adult world.

But something happened the other day, Sam started waving his hands in Kate's face while she was reading her book...and low and behold, Kate ignored him.  She did nothing.  In fact, like it was her job, she just kept silently reading away.  And like clock work, Sam moved on to the next thing.

Kate's example of not giving in and belting the crap out of her brother, remaining silent, and choosing to not engage his behavior, made me think...how often do I take the high road, when really, I just want to decimate the person that's pissed me off?  And really is the high road the way to go?

My experience with this is that 99% of the time, not engaging conflict laden behaviors will instantly end whatever potential for craziness may have existed.  Choosing to walk away and rest on your laurels is often a good thing.  But sometimes, the issue is too important, the behavior is too egregious and you just have to put the smack down on the other party.  They need to be put in their place.

So, the other day when Kate bopped Sam in the head and said, "Take that," I pretended to look away and thought..."good, she can hold her own, when needed."

It's picking the battles that is the most challenging.

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