My Dad had an interesting way of handling these things. When my siblings and I would be screaming, fighting, and crying with no end in sight, he would call a cease-fire and ask us what happened. Of course, we each had our own version of the truth. And as you would expect, we blamed each other.
When it became clear it was nothing more than silly sibling squabbling, my Dad would make each one us stand in opposite corners of the room and forbid us to look at each other, or worse, laugh.
Well, you and I both know what happens when you’re told NOT to do something – it’s what you WANT to do most! So, it was just a matter of time, usually seconds, before we’d sneak peaks at each other, giggle, and go into hysterics. By the time we caught our breaths, we no longer cared who or what the argument was about.
Clutching our bellies, we promised to play nicely if Dad let us leave from our corners. A big smile spread across his face and he’d nod. And that’s how it was done.
When my kids were younger, if things got out of hand and I was too frazzled to do the “Go-In-The-Corner” method, I used Time-outs. It seemed to give everyone the chance to cool off a little (including me). Then we’d reconvene and talk it out.
As kids get older, not all conflicts are resolved that easily. Nor does the peace always last. I’ve learned to appreciate those moments when no one is fighting. And sometimes, for no reason, I put myself in a Time-out. It’s really nice there.