Monday, April 9, 2007

Working it out

Recently, Fitz was reading to me from a study about kids sharing rooms... how kids growing up with siblings and sharing rooms do better in college, when they need to live in dorms and get along with new roomates. When I stop and watch my kids, it's true... it's amazing the negotiating skills even my 4 year old has.

People often comment on how well the kids all get along. I always laugh and explain that when there are 7 of them, there really is no sense in fighting... it's a waste of time. If you aren't getting along with one sibling, just go and find another to play with. It all works out in the end.

In some instances, this is all the more obvious. I can actually see the lessons being learned, the art of compromise and negotiation being worked out right there before my eyes. Tonight the kids all decided to play charades after dinner. Margaret, as typical of her, is the one who came up with the idea, and got everyone going with it. For a while, it was all good and fun, with lots of laughter and shouting, and "Mom look at this one!" But eventually, (as typical of her) Margaret began to revise the rules to suit her own purposes. This didn't go over well. And it didn't last long.

Very quickly, the boys caught on to the fact that the game was leaning heavily in Margaret's direction, and they began to quit the game one by one. But as soon as 3 had quit, they realized they had enough to start their own game. And because they were loud about it, and boasting how much more fun it was, the youngest kids quickly jumped ship and left Margaret stranded, alone in her own game. Wouldn't you know it... she had a change of heart, and suddenly decided maybe there rules weren't so bad after all.

This all happened within the course of 15 minutes. No input from Mom was needed (or even asked for!) and the problem was resolved with no tears being shed. Life in a big family lesson #1... It all works out in the end.

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