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rebbel's avatar

Could toddlers solve major disputes, like Israel/Palestine and the like?

Asked by rebbel (31549points) April 4th, 2011

Is it possible (as a thought experiment) to ‘translate’ problems, like the Israel/Palestine case, to two or three toddlers in the sandbox and let them try to solve it, knowing that young children have an (yet) unspoiled view at problems (I think)?
If that is possible and they came to an agreement would it be possible to ‘translate’ it back to the adults who are dealing in reality with this dispute?
Or do I myself have an ‘childish’ look maybe?

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10 Answers

optimisticpessimist's avatar

I would not call it a childish view; I would call it naive, maybe. Toddlers reasons for a dispute in the sandbox would be far less complex than the Israel/Palestine dispute. You not only have the “who was here first” and “who had it last” arguments. You have to throw in religion, tolerance, hatred, power plays, and a myriad of other complex (if not logical) issues.

blueiiznh's avatar

A dream view, but Israel/Palestine issues involve more than toddlers and disputes bigger than use of toys.

I however do love how one moment kids in the sandbox are fighting and the next hugging and best friends again like nothing happened.

If only it were that easy

Kayak8's avatar

There was a very interesting commercial in the US in the 1960’s. It showed these two groups of men in suits walking up to the top of a hill. Two guys remove their suit coats and each hands it to a member of his group. These guys are mid 60s, grey hair, pot bellies, now wearing vests and ties with suit pants and they start moving like they are going to fist fight with each other. The voice over asked “How much different would our world be if our leaders actually did the fighting” or something similar. I was only a kid, but it really impacted me.

cak's avatar

My son and his “best friend” were arguing over Transformer toys. Both wanted to be the same Autobot. Clearly, I need to get out more. A few minutes later, both boys were running into the kitchen and splitting the remaining root beer. (a rare treat, in this house) I asked them if they figured it out. My son’s friend asked what I was talking about – I said the toy. (Who would be the Autobot?) They both laughed. They decided to play something else, since they couldn’t solve the problem.

Somewhere along the line, some adults lose the power to cool down and think things out. Of course, the conflict you are talking about…there are so many issues it’s not quite the same; however, it seems that the bigger picture gets lost on some adults.

I wish things could be solved this easily. I guess it’s only for dreams and movies, now.

WasCy's avatar

Have you ever watched kids in a sandbox “settle their differences”? Without at least one parent to break them up from time to time, one of those kids would be buried in the sandbox.

No, the Israeli / Arab issue is already modeled on ‘kids in a sandbox’.

Nice try, though.

keobooks's avatar

I think people get toddlers and preschoolers mixed up. I go to baby/toddler storytime 3 times a week with my daughter. I see that toddlers in action and trust me. You don’t want them offering any solutions. Their advice would be “Ignore the land until the other guys start to use it. Then attack with full force and fight to the death over it. Show no mercy.”

Preschoolers have the concept of sharing and taking turns. Toddlers are pretty much feral as far as I can tell.

gorillapaws's avatar

Anyone who still craps their pants from time-to-time is probably going to struggle to solve one of the most complex and vicious geopolitical conflicts in mankind’s history.

If it were possible to thoroughly break down the issue in a manner that a toddler would fully understand, then the answer would almost certainly be self-evident and wouldn’t require the toddler’s input at all. I highly doubt it would be possible to communicate the issue to a toddler without radically oversimplifying the issue to the point of destroying any usefulness of it’s subsequent analysis.

mazingerz88's avatar

Depends on the kind of kids in the sandbox. If it’s the kids from Children of the Corn, The Omen, Chucky and Stewie from Family Guy, forget it. If they however are typical innocent human kids, then YES. As stated in other answers here, they could drop the problem and move on without looking back. Everytime they fight and even if to the extreme, attempt to bury the other under the sand, just ask an ice cream truck to drive by and that will end the fight.

( BTW I think Stewie after a bloody battle will end up brokering peace successfully as long as Brian agrees to become his footstool )

augustlan's avatar

It’s a lovely thought, isn’t it? I really, really wish it were possible, but I highly doubt that it is. Now, if you could put the two leaders in the sandbox (or, you know, a room somewhere) for a couple of weeks/months… No advisers, no outside news sources, just two guys (or gals) talking it out. With plenty of snacks, nap-times, and an occasional beer. We might get somewhere, then. It’s so much harder to demonize someone if you’ve spent enough time with them to actually get to know them.

mattbrowne's avatar

Although children are the key for peace of the next generation, they are not good at dealing with conflicts. They rely on mature adults to build up these skills. Children can be extremely nasty with their word choice and often includes bullying and physical violence as well. The prefrontal cortex reaches full maturity around only after the 20s, marking the cognitive maturity associated with adulthood (see Wikipedia).

Toddlers cannot solve major disputes, like Israel/Palestine and not even much smaller ones.

Only mature adults can and they need to teach the next generation of children.

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