One of the simplest ways you can transform your family’s relationships is by passing a new family law: “We will treat each other better than our best friend.”
Most families have given in to the myth that siblings aren’t going to be nice to each other, and that we all just have to accept that. But at Family-iD, we believe that HOME should be the safest place for all family members, relationally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
About ten years ago, I was in my room replying to emails when I heard a commotion in the living room. I went to investigate, walking in just in time to see the final crushing blows of a no-holds-barred fistfight between my 12-year-old son, Avery, and my 16-year-old son, Austin. I led both boys back to my room to sort things out.
“So, boys…” I began, as calmly as I could, “What exactly was that all about?”
Avery was quick with his answer. “You told me to take out the trash, so I did. But when I came back in, Austin had taken my seat on the couch, and he’d taken my pillow and blanket and changed the channel. I told him to change the channel back, and when I tried to pull my pillow and blanket away from him, he hit me.”
I turned my attention to Austin. “Is that true, buddy?” Austin looked down and nodded sheepishly. “Let me ask you something, Austin. What if it had been your best friend Ben who’d been out of the room? What would you have done if he came back and wanted his spot and his blanket?”
Austin thought for a minute. “I guess I would have apologized and given him back his stuff.”
“And what about you, Avery?” I asked. “What if, let’s say, it was Chris who had taken your spot and your blanket?”
Avery said, “Well, Chris is my best friend. And if he was over, that would mean he was here as my guest. So I probably wouldn’t have said anything. I would have just gotten myself another blanket and watched whatever he wanted.”
Write up some kind of family agreement that says, in your own words:
“IN OUR FAMILY, WE WILL TREAT EACH OTHER BETTER THAN OUR BEST FRIEND!”