It is so interesting to observe how my children tend to slide in and out of stages. Because of their stark personality differences we are usually experiencing different challenges with each child simultaneously...and sometimes the combination makes for less than peaceful interactions at home.
I really do try to let them work issues out on their own as much as possible. It is, however, a parent's role to help them navigate the tricky waters. Guiding them through their sibling relationship triangle is requiring a great deal of patience and wisdom. Specifically, we are currently experiencing a 'tri-chotomy' of sorts when it comes to decision making.
K is suddenly incapable of making a decision. She is a generally confident child, but in the last week she has started deferring to me for every decision that involves multiple choices. I have taken great care to narrow things down to two choices for her...and, yet, she will dramatically wrinkle her brow and rub both hands on the side of her forehead and say, "It is just too confusing, Mama. I can't decide. Which one do you think I should pick?" This isn't rocket science...it is cereal, clothing and freetime choices. Is this approval seeking rearing its ugly head or what?
Meanwhile, P is growing more opinionated by the day, but he is a happy-go-lucky child that tends to be easily swayed by his siblings. He is especially vulnerable to his opinionated and very decisive R, whose two new favorite phrases are: "You will be my best friend if you..." (I cannot tell you how this one flies all over me--even though I remember using it around their age.) His second favorite phrase is, "I will cwy if you do not..."
Our Leader of the Day system is still helpful, but the negotiation skills of the non-leaders have become a complicating factor. Needless to say, I am spending a great deal of time managing sibling relationships...and long Summer days are mere weeks away!