Kids fight. Kids fight with each other, their friends, their parents, and themselves. It's part of natural selection, or maybe just part of life. It's part of learning how to get along, although that seems like an oxymoron.
For a few months we've been dealing with equality. Punishments around here are all pretty equal. You break a rule, you sit in time out--I don't care how old you are, you need time to think. Then we talk about what happened, how to avoid it next time, apologize, and things move on. All pretty equal, right?
Well for some strange reason--OK not so strange we have a big family--every time I would compliment one kid, that would start a chain reaction of inequality. **Disclaimer** I do not have a favorite child, nor do I favor one child. They are each my favorite, just depends on the time of day who is my most favorite. So I would tell one they were a great writer, and out of nowhere came another kid, "but I'm good at math, huh Mom?" And then, "Well, I'm good at science. I'm the best in the class." Enter kid three, "What about me? I can tie my shoes faster than anyone."
I am not patient enough to go around the circle handing out meaningless compliments so no one gets their feelings hurt. Get real. But I do recognize that building a positive self-esteem should start at home. So I got a jar, and made it cutesy and then launched a plan.
Each week one person (parents too) is the STAR. The rest of us leave anonymous comments in the jar about what we appreciate, enjoy, admire, etc. about that person. Then at the end of the week we read all the compliments out loud. This way each sibling and parent has an opportunity to think about what this person means to them. J-Dog was first and he was beaming the rest of the day after he heard why we all love him. Even D. had nice things to say about him. They even played nice together and learned to solve a few disputes during the week.
I'm not saying the jar solved all our issues, we're still learning. But, after just a few weeks, there's a few more moments of quiet, and a few less moments of crazy. I know it's made us all think about ourselves a little less, and others a little more.