Have you ever cringed as you’ve watched your child break a friend’s block building? Whether or not it was intentional, we know there will be hurt feelings on both sides. With the story, “Take Care When You Share”, we explore issues of trust and telling the truth even when it is difficult to do so. Dillard borrows Stinky’s favorite toy and promises to take good care of it. Of course he breaks it and he compounds the problem by lying, saying, “I think it was broken when you gave it to me…”
Here’s what kids need to know:
When you break a toy, you’re not just hurting the toy, you’re hurting feelings.
When something does break, even if it was by accident, the best way forward is to tell the truth and apologize.
We all make mistakes and we can heal friendships.
Here are a few things you can try:
When there is a conflict, ask the children about their feelings. (When we know their state of mind at the time of the problem, we get a sense of intent without shaming.) Try something like, "Were you angry when this happened?" or "Were you trying to be funny when this happened?"
Once you know their feelings, say something acknowledging like, "I can see you are frustrated. That makes sense." This helps the child in naming feelings and puts you both on the same side. You are problem solving instead of punishing.
Once we have a clearer understanding of intent, we can turn to solutions. Remind them that when they have broken trust, it can be fixed. Step 1 is telling the truth. Step 2 is apologizing for any mistakes. Step 3 is acting in a trustworthy manner in the future. Over time, this is how you repair trust with a friend.
Watch the episode 'Take Care When You Share' and follow up with these conversation starters:
Do you think Dillard was trying to break Stinky’s toy on purpose?
What could Dillard have said to Stinky after he broke her toy?
What do you do when someone breaks your toy by accident?
What do you do when you break someone else's toy?
With a little coaching, kids can become more thoughtful playmates. You won’t solve every problem, but you can develop an expectation of fair play and honesty with your child. This will have a profound impact on the way your child is received by peers.
All the best,