2. Don’t arbitrate. All siblings have petty fights and squabbles about trivial things that they perceive as hugely important. Of course, they turn to their parents to arbitrate their conflicts. Our parents, however, refused to do this every single time.
“Dad!” I would holler. “Molly tore my dress / bit off the nose of my favorite toy piglet / ate my homework / pushed me / spit on my book! Are you going to tell her that she is wrong and that she is a brat???”
“Go back to your sister and figure this out with her,” my father would invariably respond.
“But she is WRONG!!!” I would vociferate indignantly.
“I don’t care,” he’d say. “This is all between you.”
Of course, I would immediately be overcome with a sense of a huge injustice being done to me. Those useless adults! They never wanted to help one, even when one was absolutely right. What was the point of having them around anyways?
This intense dislike of unfair horrible adults needed to be shared with a compassionate listener who would understand my grievance. I’d go back to the room I shared with my sister.
“So what did Dad say?” she’d inquire.
“Well, you know how they are. Never willing to do anything one asks them!”
“I know!” Molly would say. “Remember that time when you hid my doll? They never wanted to punish you for that.”
United in our dislike of heartless adults, we would go back to playing together in perfect harmony.