Last night in the car one of my children was making a strange noise. It wasn’t very loud, but it was persistent.
It annoyed my son. He asked her politely to stop, and she did for about ten seconds.
He then asked me for help (without whining), just as I’ve counseled the children to do when they are unable to solve the problem on their own.
I am trying to wean them off of my intervention, but this doesn’t happen just by saying “solve your own problems, kid.” I realize this goal will take many years to accomplish, but I’m working toward this end, nonetheless. What I’ve been doing has been to make sure they’ve done everything they can to solve the problem on their own. Did you ask them politely to stop? Did you try ignoring the behavior? Have you tried walking away? Most of the time, unless it’s my four year old who wants her own way all the times, we can solve the problem just by walking through it verbally. However, since he could’ t leave the behavior, none of my standard responses seemed to fit.
This is not the first time I have seen this scenario in the car.
What would love do? What should love do when someone is behaving obnoxiously? Maybe because I’ve been thinking overtime (out of necessity) how love behaves in difficult situations, or maybe it was simply God’s grace at that moment in time, but I realized that there are other strategies that could help my son that I’ve not thought about before.
How about talking with her? Would she rather talk with her big brother about her night than make obnoxious noises? Since I’ve been working on “love doesn’t become a hermit” with my children, this wasn’t a new idea, even though it was a new application. I’m realizing that actively becoming interested in a sibling and making conversation might be a good strategy to develop.
I also suggested that they find some songs to sing together. Now, I’ve often put on music in the car when they’ve gotten irritable with each other, but giving them the opportunity to solve the problem on their own might be a better approach in the future. Here is another way to help them learn self-control and develop some autonomy as they get older. I still think there’s a place for putting on the music when the situation degenerates, but I need to think more about encouraging them to sing on their own.