Fast forward several years and the peace in the kingdom comes to a screeching halt. Grandchildren enter stage left and the age-old sibling squabbles takes up with a new generation. Jennifer recalls the "magic coin" her father had invented decades earlier and she and her dad set out to not only restore the peace to their own kingdom, but to neighboring kingdoms across the land.
The birth of The Pocket Referee heralded the beginning of restored order to lands near and far...well, at least as far as the ear can hear!
Dr. George Vraney, now a semi-retired physician, is a weaver of stories so fantastical that he convinced his two daughters, Jennifer and Amy that he had a magical coin that could help them settle disputes. He found an elaborate way to engage them in the use of this coin, which really worked wonders.
With the help of daughter Jennifer, his original idea has now evolved into The Pocket Referee. It is one of the smallest, quietest and least invasive products around that helps kids deal with daily conflict and personal choice-making. Imagine your kids being able to settle disputes without having to drag you into it. Picture, if you will, your kids quietly negotiating who gets the front seat or who gets to pick the movie.
While Dr. Vraney may have spun a tale of momentous proportions, he was spot-on with one thing. The coin has magical properties. And they have somehow managed to get it into every single one of The Pocket Referee coins.
The best thing about The Pocket Referee? It keeps parents from feeling compelled to intervene in every sibling situation. When we are quick to step in to solve these daily dilemmas for our little darlings, something is lost in the translation. We rob our children of the chance to think critically, to problem-solve, to negotiate, and to develop the ability to compromise and come up with a win-win situation. (Can you think of any adults who might have difficulty with any of the above? That's what I thought!)
All of the above mentioned skills are crucial characteristics of social-emotional development, that have predictive qualities for our children's future success and happiness in life. When we allow our kids the opportunity to learn how to engage their brains and think for themselves, we provide them with a skill that will serve them well throughout their lifetimes. (Think board meetings, negotiating big deals, and just being a decent human being.)
Ah! But, you may be thinking..."Right! I could never imagine my kids doing any of the above. Not without a referee in the room!" You might be right, and it's called The Pocket Referee.
The premise is simple and easy to follow: One child is the keeper of the coin. When a squabble comes up, the keeper of the coin can get her way, but she must then relinquish the coin to the other sibling. Or, she can decide to pass on this issue and hold onto the coin for a more important matter in the future.
The Pocket Referee gives one other huge boost to social-emotional development and that is delayed gratification. Being able to hold off and wait for something is another major life skill that figures prominently in one's success. (Remember that little experiment with the marshmallows?) When a child weighs her options and decides to hold onto the coin and pass on getting her way, she has just practiced delayed gratification.