Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sibling Squabbles: The Cure For Infighting

Caleb celebrated the evening of his birthday with barbecue and homemade chocolate cake.

The next day we woke up and celebrated Connor's 11th birthday.

Back-to-back birthdays feels a bit like Groundhog's day with two day's full of cake and presents.

Connor requested a Dairy Queen cake!

Connor invited a few pals to celebrate his birthday at an indoor aquatic center.

A few buddies spent the night too.

Cooper with his case file.

A decade plus into this parenting gig, I've realized that sibling conflict comes with the family package.  I've also learned no item is too small to argue over and no cause is too petty.  Case in point:  this summer two sons were arguing over a glass of water.  WATER.    I reminded them that, in this country, water is free and plentiful, thus negating the need to squabble over it.  But, deep down I knew the disagreement had little to do with the water.

Why do they argue?  Perhaps it's the sport of it.  Maybe, males have a primal need to exert their testosterone and protect their territories.  Or, they could just be bored.  Whatever the case, infighting is no stranger to this household.

This morning, I was washing the dishes when I heard a whack followed by crying.  I raced up the stairs to find two siblings in a heated conflict.  When I asked for an explanation, two sons offered varied versions of the events.

Typically, I would greet this encounter with my own anger followed by a quick delivery of a punishment.  But, this time I paused.  I contemplated things.  Then, I told them to work it out and come downstairs when things were settled.

About an hour later, Cooper and Connor (boys in conflict) motioned me to the kitchen table.  Cooper was clutching a file folder.  He announced, "I've got our case file."

It was hard for me to stifle my own giggles.

Cooper and Connor opened up the file and set out papers on the table.  They had documented the events in question.  My favorite part of the account:

"Connor brought in a deadly weapon.  It was plastic," read Cooper.

How many deadly weapons are plastic?

By the time Cooper had finished reading the "deadly encounter" of events, we were all laughing.  Cooper and Connor had set aside their differences.

I learned a valuable mom lesson today.  Perhaps letting them work it out was the best punishment/solution of all.  Something to remember the next time they argue over water.

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