Luke and Anna burst into the dining room where their mom balances a ledger.
“Mom, Anna keeps poking me,” asserts Luke who is eleven.
“I’m just treating him the way he treats me,” replies a justified ten-year-old Anna.
Louder, Luke says,” Anna sounds so perfect, but she’s mean.”
“He started it,” claims Anna.
“Come with me,” says Mom calmly. She leads them to the next room. “Please, have a seat on the couch.”
They sit on opposite ends. Sour looks cover their faces.
Mom says, “You two don’t need me to work this out. I know you can talk it through. I’ll be back in a while.”
Anna pouts. “How long do we have to stay here?”
“I’ll let you know. Don’t call me or get up. And no physical contact or technology. You’ll work it out. Talk to each other.” Mom goes back to her accounting.
On the couch Anna and Luke stare away from each other. But, Mom is not returning. And it’s quiet. The time seems long to them.
Luke looks over at Anna and offers, “I poked you cuz you were falling asleep.”
“What’s wrong with that?” Asks Anna.
“The glass of water you were holding was about to tip over.”
Anna turns and looks at her brother. “Why didn’t you say so?”
“You didn’t give me a chance, you reached over and poked me hard in the side. It hurt.”
She turns toward him. “I thought you were being mean.”
“Was the water really going to spill?” Asks Anna.
Luke moves closer to his sister. “Yes. On your legs. And, I didn’t poke you. I nudged you.”
“You would have been so mad if you’d got wet,” says Luke.
Anna smiles. “I know! I should be happy.”
Anna reaches out to her brother, “I feel bad for poking you, when you were being good to me.”
Mom hears the change in their voice and gives them a couple more minutes. Upon returning she asks, “Are guys patched up?”
They smile and explain the misunderstanding to their mom. Life goes on off the couch.
I hope you’ll lead your children to use this to resolve their small quarrels. And let me know how it goes.