I’ve had some recent opportunities to support the social skills of siblings in a home environment (my home, actually), which is code for “How can I teach these kiddoes to stop slugging one another?” “Slugging” is a bit strong; it was more like scratching and screaming and a little whacking. Before I had kids, I said the most ridiculous things to parents. Now I get a taste of my own medicine in trying to retrain some youngsters who have experienced a number of setbacks in life. At their core, they are compliant and eager to please. One-on-one, they are 100% delightful. In a group, they are determined to get attention in any way that presents itself. If that means unleashing revenge for the long list of wrongs they have compiled against one another, all the better.
This rubric is a way for me to measure their baseline behavior and growth. And my baseline behavior and growth. I have already learned that I must intervene rapidly when body parts are about to collide. I must effectively engage them in positive and active pursuits. Equally important, I must “publicly” rotate between activities which are special to each child. That means we do a bit of everything in 5 hours. One child wants to see a Barbie video, one wants to play pirates, and one wants to play Mario Kart. No one gets to completely finish anything but the good news is that secretly, they all do enjoy what the others are doing. I drink a cup of tea before they arrive, as a caffeine boost, and honestly, enjoy myself a lot. They are bright, imaginative, and affectionate kiddoes coping well with tough situations.