That feral, guttural, sound. Most parents who are currently in the throws of (or who have valiantly survived) the 5 and under set, know what I’m talking about. It’s the sound small humans make when they are about to lash out. It’s the warning alarm that let’s you know someone is about to turn wild. Unfortunately, as much as it is a warning to big humans, it is a catalyst for other small humans. The call of the wild. The truest form of mob mentality kicks in when this sound is called.
I try to run minimal interference when O and E bicker. I might chime in with a “better way to say”, or I might give them a count to 5 while they sort it out amongst themselves. Stepping back doesn’t come naturally. I’ve had to work at it. People (big and small) can’t learn without being allowed to try. They can’t learn critical thinking skills if I spoon feed every little thing to them.
Now I’m not saying I let them fight it out! They are 3 and 4. Things can escalate quickly. Time out’s, or even the dreaded trip to their rooms, do happen, but I try to let them sort their issues out together. For the most part they can and do. They remember how much easier it is to take turns. They choose to share. They offer to help each other. Those are traits that will help them to be good big people. Those are the lessons worth taking a step back to teach.
But every once in awhile, The Call. The thrashing, gnashing, wild.