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a tale of two letters

The shouts, screams and tears came out of nowhere.  My boys were tumbling on the floor — not just wrestling — but aiming for serious damage. 

It was our first day of spring break, so it must be time to start up the sibling wars.  It was also time to nip this in the bud — right here — right now.  I think we’ve been here before

Instead of forcing apologies, we “invited” the boys to take some time to contemplate what they learned and what they might do next time.  After the requisite protests, moans and groans, they wrote one another the following essays (printed with permission from the authors):

from N, age 10:

I can avoid fighting my brother in many ways.  I could just left him alone and find something else to play.  I could have gone outside again.  Me and D. could have watched Dad play his game.  Or we could have played more wii.  Me and D. could have talked do A. about our idea.  I should not have acted the way I did.  I feel very bad about my actions.  I should not have bent your arm back.  I should not have stabbed you with a pencil.  Next time I will just walk away or found something else to do.  Me and D. are both very sorry for our actions and we will never do it again.  Next time I will walk away or just leave A. alone.  I am very extreamly super sorry that I almost broke your arm.
Sincerely, N.


from A, age 13:

I think overreacting isn’t a good thing, but many of us are prone to it.  It helps to avoid a situation altogether, but sometimes if we are attacked, then we need to make a decision.  Its a dilemma, that decision, but there is a higher road.  In case your wondering, there are 3 choices. 

One, retaliate.  This may work, but often leads to overreacting, and someone getting hurt. 

2, let it happen to you.  This may get you hurt, but its all together more peaceful than option 1.

Then theres option 3.  Option 3 is the high road.  Option 3 is the way out of it.  Option 3 is getting away.  If its a brother attacking you or fighting anywhere else, option 3 is the way to go.  It may leave you or someone else with some steam to blow off, but nobody gets hurt.

I have experienced all 3 options, and with numbers one and two I have eventually overreacted.  3 I’m just all angry and hyped up.  Overreacting will get you into trouble and it will get sombody hurt.  It may even get you into writing an essay on it.  Overreacting will probably get you into a fight.  You may be defending your self from a playfull “sneak atack” from your brother.  Or you might overreact and spaz to the result of a football game and throw something at someone.  Either way its not good, and people will get upset with you.  Even common bystanders.  Like a sister when two brothers are fighting.  So overreacting is something we all just need to avoid, at all costs.

After working awhile, and sneaking little snickers with each other (which I chose to ignore), they cooled down and came to me with a proposal:  instead of separate essays of the requested length, they stapled both essays together as a unified symbol of family cooperation. 

With pleasure, I accepted, and stashed the letters in our memory box.  Maybe we’ll get through spring break after all.  

What tricks do you have up your sleeve to stem sibling arguments?

Creative Commons License photo credit: hey skinny

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