The “get along” shirt has been going around on the Internet for some time now and while it sounded like a good idea, I have never tried it before. But when my cousin started waxing lyrical about how well it worked with her boys, I decided to give it a go…
The boys had come to me, yet again, to adjudicate their umpteenth dispute so I grabbed one of the hub’s old t-shirts, lopped it over their heads, and told them that I wanted them to learn how to work together.
There are a couple of parenting articles that talk about why the “get along” shirt doesn’t work (there is another one here from Laura Markham but the website was under construction at the time of writing this post) as a disciplinary method, but I couldn’t help but see the positives coming out of this experience for the boys:
- They learned to cooperate and get things done together – it was almost like that three-legged race where you have to cooperate with your team member to get to the finish line.
- They learned to take turns and wait for each other – like when they were reading a book, G1 would wait for G2 to finish before turning the page.
- They learned to negotiate and come to an agreement on where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do – for example, you pick up the balloon, I’ll get the sword.
Although the “get along” shirt is intended to be a form of punishment, I can’t really say that my boys saw it that way. For one, G2 was giggling too much. It was also nice to see them working together as a team to get things done rather than fighting over who should do what and getting nothing done. And although the whole experience wasn’t “bicker-free”, they certain worked out their differences more quickly and effectively than when they did when they were not joined together by the shirt.
What’s our verdict? I think I’m going to have to agree with the HuffPost and call this a parenting win.