“Waaaaahaaaaa!” screamed Porter, my five year old, from the other side of the family room. I looked over there just is time to see Paije, his much older sister, trying to pry one of her shoes from her little brother’s hands while keeping a close eye on the other shoe. Before I could even get a word in, Paije had grabbed the first shoe away from her younger brother and now she was reaching for the other shoe, which was still attached to her brother’s foot.
Again Porter cried as Paije aggressively said, “Give me the shoe Porter.”
Before someone got hurt again I knew I had to intervene. “Paije, you need to stop touching Porter.” I said.
Paije looked up at me in frustration and said, “Mom, I told him to give me my shoes and he wouldn’t. He is doing this on purpose because…”
“Stop talking Paije. We need to all calm down so that we can discuss this situation.” I interjected.
Paije humbly said, “okay,” and stepped back from her terrified younger brother.
“I am going to give you an instruction. Both of you need to take three deep breaths. Okay?”
Porter and Paije both said okay and followed the instruction. I asked each child to report what happened just a few minutes earlier. The following was the situation: Paije mentioned to Quinton that she was going to be leaving. When Porter heard this declaration, he decided to tease his sister by putting on her shoes. Paije noticed the shoes on her younger brother and became frustrated and anxious. She immediately started grabbing for the shoes. In the process of grabbing for the shoes Porter was scratched on the leg. Porter was in pain, so he started to cry, but he still wouldn’t part with the shoes. At this point Paije was even more anxious to recover her property so she started to yell orders at her brother. This is the point where I stepped into the situation.
After listening to the reports, I determined that my 11 year old daughter and my five year old son were both in the wrong, but in different ways. My son made a bad decision to tease his sister which showed disrespect for one of his family members. In our home respecting family is most important! His decision to try to get her upset was purely selfish. He had obviously lost focus of what kind of family we are and how our home is supposed to feel. I told him to sing our loving family song and then I corrected his behavior. After practicing respecting his sister, he earned to do an extra chore. Porter sang, apologized to me and Paije and willingly accepted his negative consequence.
Right after Porter was occupied with his extra chore, I spoke with Paije about how she could have handled the situation differently. I explained that Porter probably made a decision to tease her in hopes of having some fun with her, not knowing she was in such a rush. I also explained to her that she didn’t disagree in an appropriate way with her brother. In this situation she obviously needed to disagree, but just didn’t go about it in a way that would keep the spirit of love in our home. We practiced disagreeing appropriately and talked about the negative consequence which Paije earned. Paije said “okay” and quickly did her chore before going to her church activity. The feeling in the home was back and everyone was working together as a family again.