Mr W and I were getting ready for the day on Tuesday, and he said, "I don't want to go to school, school's dumb." Somewhere back in my mind I remember hearing something about this. When a parent hears this, they are supposed to poke around a bit to see if the kid is having any trouble with class, teachers, friends, etc.
So I start asking questions about these things, and it's so amazing to me that this technique actually works. He starts in on how all of his friends are, "running away when they see me". Uh-oh. We talk about why this might be and he says they always want to play Star Wars, and wants to play Bionicle, and they are being mean, etc.
We talk about ways he can deal with this. I like to entertain all options, including the absurd and the unrealistic, just to show him that he's not locked into having to have a situation continue as it is. I basically say that friends take turns deciding what they play, and maybe they can talk about it.
We get to school in plenty of time, so I'm at the swings with him until the playground person comes out. Here comes his friend, and he comes right over to us. I keep myself from saying, "See? He's not running away." Mr W says, "we always play Star Wars, I want to play something else." Pause. "OK. You want to play Bionicles, don't you? I want to be Gresh (who is the coolest one)." This is debated, and off they go to do little boy stuff, conflict resolved.
I guess what impresses me is how he 'got it'. It was really cool to see Mr W expressing himself and asking for what he wanted in a calm way. Life is complicated. The sooner he learns to take turns and express himself clearly, the better.