It’s Halloween time.
Two brothers are upset because one of the two pumpkins had to be thrown out. Brothers did what brothers do: argue. They both wanted the remaining pumpkin to be their pumpkin.
Their mother tried her best to encourage them to share, to reprimand them, and even threatened to take the pumpkin away from both of them.
She was at her wits end. The kids arguing would not stop.
Parenting Tips and Tricks
Their father was brought up to speed later that day. Taking a different approach to his kids arguing, he waited for a calm moment to sit the boys down and asked them why the pumpkin was so important to each of them.
After some encouragement and assurance the older one explained that he wanted to carve the pumpkin by himself. He had spent time thinking about the carving and in preparation had even drawn it out on paper. It was going to be so cool!
The younger one, sniffling, explained that he wanted to bake the pumpkin seeds like his teacher told him about. They were going to be so good!
Their father listened intently.
And then he said:
“So, you want to carve the pumpkin. And you want the seeds so you can bake them. I wonder if there is a way for each of you to get what you want with the same pumpkin? What do you think?”
Later that night, the older son carved the pumpkin. As he gutted the pumpkin he carefully placed the seeds in to a bowl. His younger brother worked with his mother to clean, salt and bake them.
Parent as Mediator: Teaching Kids How to Resolve Conflict
In mediation, the pumpkin is an example of a position a client may bring in to the session. The carving and baking are the interests that the father helped his kids figure out. This father was a great mediator!
He asked some questions, listened, and helped the kids brainstorm solutions that met both of their needs. This is exactly what any effective mediator will do to help resolve family conflict.
Focusing on the pumpkin alone would never have resulted in a win-win solution.
In what ways do you focus too much on the “pumpkins” in your life?
Comment below to share your take-away from this story!