The Giraffe Bowl Wars

giraffesThis month’s story is shared with us by a Mummy in Aberystwyth…

It seems that the most coveted breakfast item in this Welsh household was a very particular cereal bowl known as the Giraffe Bowl.  However, one Giraffe Bowl and two children under five led to the outbreak of The Giraffe Bowl Wars.

Mummy was frankly tearing her hair out.  Let her tell you the next part of the story in her own words:

More Giraffe Bowl Wars at breakfast!! Do we a) carry on the current angst-ridden system of “Taking turns with the Giraffe Bowl each day” b) cave in and scour the land to find another sodding Giraffe Bowl or c) smash the Giraffe Bowl into 1000 tiny pieces. Cast your vote.

In our house it was The Spain Spoon that caused the trouble.

The BeyondSupernanny approach in this scenario advocated that Mommy’s sanity was now paramount.  I suggested going to the shop and letting each child choose their very own SHINY NEW BOWL!!!  Give Daddy the Giraffe Bowl.  Now Mommy (and by extension the whole family) will have peace of mind at breakfast for under a tenner.

Interestingly, this mother reported that her own mother had suggested exactly the same thing the week before.  But that week, Mummy was sure that her children should learn to share and that they should not be “rewarded” for squabbling (her inverted commas, not mine!).

I recognise the Supernanny effect in Mummy’s reasoning the week before.

It seems logical, but is basically unhelpful in this real-life situation.  It leads parents away from their intuition about what would be loving for them and their children.

For starters, children this young are not developmentally ready to share with ease.

Know that children can be trusted to learn to share when they are ready because we are social creatures and it both feels good and is in our own interest to share with others.

But like toilet training, forcing the issue creates problems.  Have patience and it evolves quite naturally.

And once again we see that the Supernanny emphasis on behaviour management (i.e. be careful not to “reward” behaviour you don’t want) leads away from understanding, away from connection, and tragically, away from SOLUTIONS!

Focus on needs (peace, harmony, and TWO appealing bowls) and solutions will follow.

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