The Pocket Referee
Produced by: Vraney, Inc.
Category: Children, Parents
If you have two or more children, then you might understand some of the petty arguments kids insist on having with one another. Let's see, for example, this week's arguments between my two rascals have included:
- Which movies to watch on Roku
- Whose turn it is to play the Playstation (because they fight to much to play together)
- An argument about who had the most patience
- Fight over sitting position in the living room ("I was there first")
- Who gets to sled first
- If the food on their plate was equal
- The "it's not fair" fight over any and everything
- Whether or not their cousin was playing in his room or her room
- If they were going to have school or not because of the snow (which they did not)
- Whose turn it was to clean their bathroom
I could go on and on, but basically, my two fight from the moment they wake up until they go to bed. They do play together, and sometimes when its too quiet, I have to go investigate to make sure one hasn't tied and gagged the other (okay, I doubt this would happen, but not 100% sure). They can't even make it up the hill from the school bus without fighting.
But, it's just their way. They have this unique relationship and when one of them is gone to the grandparents for the night, the other doesn't know what to do with themselves. Arguing is just one of their ways of communicating and no matter what I do, they continue. Therefore, when I heard about The Pocket Referee, I was genuinely excited!
The Pocket Referee was the mastermind of George Vraney, who used the concept of The Pocket Referee to settle disputes between his two daughters, Jennifer and Amy. The object of the coin is to allow children the tool necessary to settle their own disputes and without as much parental involvement. I know, in our household, my settling their disputes just makes mom the bad guy. With The Pocket Referee, this is not the case. The Pocket Referee is a two sided coin. One side has a cute referee and says "Get the Choice - Pass the Coin" and the opposite side has a neat treasure chest and says "Pass the Choice - Keep the Coin".
When the coin first arrived, we opened the package and the kids were ultra excited, but after I told them the intention of the coin, they both grumbled. I had the kids pick "heads" or "tails" and then flipped the coin. When the girl ended up with the coin, the boy had a meltdown and we ended up having to do the "two-out-of-three" to appease his "it's not fair" mentality. I explained to them how it would work: At the first dispute, the holder of the coin (in this case, the girl) could decide to keep the coin and let the other child (the boy) have his way, or the holder of the coin could choose to pass the coin and have her way now, but relinquishing her control of the coin.
The next morning the children started arguing over which tv show to watch on the living room tv (which makes no sense to me as they both have their own tv's in their room) and so I immediately asked, "Who has the Referee?" My daughter was still in control of it, so she was able to decide if she would keep the coin and let him watch the show he wanted to watch or pass the coin and watch what she wanted to watch. She chose to keep the coin. Every argument they had, she decided to keep the coin. All through day one. All through day two. All through day three. On day four, my son had enough and I heard the familiar "that's not fair, she has had the coin for three days and she won't EVER give it to me". At this point, I thought he might be right, and so I explained to him, that the longer she kept it, the more he would get his way. This made him happy for a few more days, until he learned that getting his way was boring.
By the second week, the quiet around the house ended. My son figured out that the only way he was ever going to get the coin was to create more arguments. This was a horribly long day for me, as everything he did was about getting that coin. Now, he just wanted it. Not because he wanted his way, but because his sister had it and he wanted it. Now the coin BECAME the argument. It was then, that I had to amend the rules. Each morning, the coin would be traded off. This seemed to work. The boy felt the power of the coin in his hand for the first time! There was no stopping him now! "I've got the coin, so I can make the decision", he would tell his sister. She would just roll her eyes. "Fine, then I'm not playing that coin game anymore", she would tell him. But of course, she would.
I enjoyed The Pocket Referee as it allowed me to not be plagued with the constant "tattle-tail syndrome" that kids develop. Instead, they learned that they could, instead, settle their own arguments. I even seen them making compromise without passing or mention of the coin. Progress.
The Pocket Referee is a great tool to teach children the importance of comprise. Is it going to end every argument or dispute?No. But what it is going to do, is allow the parent to remove him or herself from the middle. This made it work for me!! Even now, when they forget about the coin or forget whose turn it is to make the decision, I have the power of the coin on my side. I can mention "Who has The Pocket Referee?" at any given time, and they will bring it to me and I will pass someone the control. I don't have to make the decision, but put it back into their hands. That's worth it to me!
Special: All orders made from The Pocket Referee website, from now until the end of February, will come gift wrapped and with complimentary chocolate. Perfect for Valentine's Day gift giving!
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