A: You are one busy parent! It is not easy to raise four children these days, and you seem to care about fairness and developmentally appropriate behaviors, so kudos to you.
And although your care and concern are admirable, you are overthinking this.
For time eternal, parents have had many children, varying in age and developmental stage. To add to this, children have always been developing at their own rate. Some children are extremely sensitive; some children have neurological, physical and other health obstacles; and some children will never mature into adulthood, despite their age. My point? Even if you have twins, children are always in different places in their maturation process. Yes, it is generally easier to parent a crew of children over the age of 7 or 8 because most children can regulate their emotions with more consistency at that age. But you have two immature children (the 1- and the 4-year-old), one on the cusp of a little more regulation (the 6-year-old) and one more-mature child (the 8-year-old). So what do you do?
1. Stop trying to accommodate everyone’s needs. Parent the child in front of you without thinking about what the other children are doing or not doing. How you handle your 8-year-old may be different from how you treat your 4-year-old. While you may be able to have a more reasonable conversation with your 8-year-old, too much talking could exacerbate the 4-year-old’s anger. Trying to appeal to the child’s “rational mind” could be a fruitless endeavor and, worse, could create more frustration and defiance. Your 6-year-old may flip-flop between rational and irrational behavior, depending on the child’s fatigue and state of mind. You see? Whether you have a conversation with your child, take a toy away, cuddle, leave a restaurant or decide to let go of a boundary, just decide and move on.
Find this over on The Washington Post.