The Therapist Is In: Conflict Resolution for Toddlers

My kids are getting to an age where they are both fighting an awful lot. They fight over toys, over sippy cups, over chairs . . . you name it. India is just about to turn 2, and many times the fights are just completely illogical. For example: India was claiming that Jafta's blue blanket was hers (which she knows to be untrue and yet seems to enjoy the drama). Jafta, in his 3-year-old need for justice, argued just as vehemently that the blanket was, indeed, his own. This repeats itself, with various substitutions of content, all day, every day.

In an effort to quell the nonsensical fighting, I figured that Jafta, being eldest, was the more logical of the two. I decided to try to teach him the concept of "agreeing to disagree". I spent some intentional time with him talking about the fighting, and explaining that perhaps he could just end the fight by saying "we agree to disagree". I explained how this meant that he didn't agree with her, but he wasn't going to argue. We even practiced it a few times. Jafta kept saying it wrong (we agree to agree), but whatever. He got the concept. I thought.

So here is how the next episode went:

India puts Jafta's shoes on her feet)

Jafta: India, those are MY shoes!
India: They're mine! India's shoes.
Jafta: We agree to agree, India.
India: They're MINE!
India: They're MINE!
Jafta: (now screaming) WE AGREE TO AGREE, INDIA!!!
India: They're MINE!

lather. rinse. repeat.

So, yeah. There you have it. The family therapist explains conflict resolution for you. Bet you can't wait to try this one at home.

You're welcome.


  1. it's like when I babysat the brays and callen got real mad that logan said he was going to be three:

    Callen: Miss Bonnie? I'm Two!
    Logan: But, Miss Bonnie, he will be three.
    Callen: NOT FREE!!!!
    Logan: Yes, he will miss Bonnie.
    Callen: NOT FREE!!
    Me: Logan, Callen does not understand that he will be three, so let's just agree with him that he is two.
    Callen: Miss Bonnie? I'm Two! Not free!
    Me: That's right Callen, you are Two, not three.
    Logan: But he will be three Miss Bonnie right? He doesn't understand, but he will be three, right?
    Callen: NOT FREE NOT FREE!

  2. Sadly I can relate and secretly am thrilled that other people are going through the same thing! My 4 year old has now entered the phase of "blame your little brother for everything", even if he is nowhere near the scene of the crime. Today he got blamed for a towel in the toilet, a crayon in the DVD player, and for saying a bad word I overheard from the other room...

  3. I often say this same phrase to my 3 and 4 year old... "he thinks it's funny, you think it's not," "he thinks it's blue, you think it's green," "he likes to disagree and your really analytical, aren't our so differences fun?"

  4. I'm dying. That is hilarious.


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