One of the things I admire about my sister-in-law Martha is her ability to teach her children to resolve conflict. When her children come, needing a referee, she helps them think through how they’ve already attempted to solve the problem, and then gives further suggestions that might be helpful. Many times I’ve heard her ask, “Did you ask them nicely to stop?” “Did you ask in a whiny voice, or a polite voice?” I like that, so I’ve been trying it out on my children.
The only problem is that they really don’t know yet if they’ve said something nicely. I don’t think they even remember what they’ve said. They really do think that saying “MOVE!” is the same thing as saying, “Excuse me. Will you please move?” Guess I need to work on this some more.