The “Talk It Out” System

When my cousin, David, was on a little league team, he and another 5 year old were both running for a ball. They bumped into each other and fell down. They both missed the ball. The next thing the parents on the sidelines knew, the two boys were sitting crossed legged across from each other. Wondering what was happening and what was holding up the game, the mothers of the two boys crossed the field. "What are you doing?" my aunt asked David.

"Mom, we had a problem, and so now we are talking it out."

Often when my kids have a problem with each other, I try not to get too wrapped up in the referee role as a mom, and lovingly invite them to go up to their (shared) room and talk it through, and come out when they are happy to be brothers again. It helps me not get too emotionally wound up in all the battles that happen throughout the day, helps them to manage their own conflicts and emotions, and work together to be happy members of the family.

When my son's kindergarten guidebook also suggested the Talk it Out system in his classroom, I was glad that we were on to something, and wanted to pass along this tidbit of discipline advice.

When your kids are upset with each other, they

1. Cool down. Take some time to cool down and think.
2. Walk up to the person and say, "Let's talk".
3. Go to the "Talk It Out" area, a quiet private spot, and sit down face to face.
4. Say, "I feel ____ when _____, so please ______." Explain exactly what action made you feel that way, and then give two choices for resolving the problem.
5. Let the other person talk. Listen to what they are saying.
6. Stay with it until you both agree on a solution.

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About Kerri

Ahh…see that smile on my face? That’s a genuine smile. I love my family. I love the 4th of July. I love the beach. I love ice-cream. And the day this picture was taken, I was getting the combination of it all. Ahhh…that’s a real smile!
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