|(Me, Ellen & Heidi)|
It was a different time and discipline was, of course, very different as well. My mom did have moments of genius, though. One of them was her way to get us to stop fighting. Three little girls, close in age? Oh, yeah, we fought. Slapping, hair-pulling, and, if I was involved- scratching. (What? I had freakishly long nails at a very early age.)
After a bought of slapping/pulling/scratching, my mom would separate the melee. Then, she would make us face each other.
"Now," she'd say, "if you want to fight, go ahead. Hit each other."
"Do it. Hit. Each. Other."
At which point the two girls involved would dissolve in tears.
"We don't want to hit each other!"
"Why not? You did just a moment ago. Now, come on. Hit."
"NO!" More sobbing.
Fast forward twenty-some years and I was a young mother myself. My two oldest were probably 3 and 4 years old. Now, I figured that my amazing parenting skills and buckloads of patience would mean that my children would never fight. heh. So, one day, after an unusually strong brawl, I separated my two children and made them face each other.
"You want to fight. Go ahead. Hit each other."
Let's pause one moment. You see, I forgot one thing. My mom used this tactic on me and my sisters. Girls. I don't remember her ever using it on my three brothers, for good reason. I forgot that boys and girls are different. And, my two oldest are, you guessed it, boys.
And they did. They hauled off and smacked each other. Tears and screaming ensued (some by me). I sent the boys to their room and sat in wonder at my kerfuffle. Where did I go wrong? How had my mother's example failed me so? The answer was really quite simple.
While we should learn from the past, some tactics are best left there.
|Adam and Jacob on a non-fighting day.|