On February 24, 2002, the cover article for the New York Times Magazine "Girls Just Want to be Mean" finally drew attention to the aggressive tendencies of girls, a long neglected subject.
Stephanie thought she was going to lose her mind. She just couldn't seem to keep things under control with her 5 year old twin boys and 8 year old daughter. From the moment they got up on the morning until they went to sleep at night it was one argument after another: who got to choose where to sit at breakfast, which TV show they were going to watch, who would be first in the bathroom, and so on. Just when she'd get one argument sorted out, another would erupt.
Not all children are the same. This should come as no news to anyone, of course, but at the same time most parents hope that their child is exactly that -- the same as other children his or her age.
Every morning Janice's daughter, Samantha, would fight with her about her clothes. Even if they'd picked the outfit out the night before, the next morning it would be the same old complaint, "I'm not wearing that, I hate it!" One day, however, Samantha simply put the clothes on without complaining. As mother and daughter walked out the door to go to school, Samantha turned to her mom and said with an exclamation of surprise, "Mom! We forgot our fight today!"
With violent responses to our difficulties here in the United States topping the headlines of the major newspapers nearly every day, it has become increasingly important for parents to take advantage of "teachable moments" in which they can instruct their children in conflict resolution skills. The opportunities to do so arise with most children nearly every day.