You hear two of your children fighting from the other room. Do you ignore it? Let Darwin sort it out? But then your hand is forced as the high-pitched cry of the wronged rings out…“Noooooaaaahhhh!” Always “Noah” and never a simple “No” means it’s bad. And now you are forced to get off the toilet and see what’s going on.
Often I hear my boys fighting from the other room and I can’t tell whodunit. Then I have to come in to pronounce Dad judgment on one or both parties. But how to be fair?
I have devised a trial that would make King Solomon proud.
Make them take “the hug test.”
Without passing any rulings or taking sides, tell them that they need to get along and hug each other. You need to do this quickly while emotions are flaring.
The one who can’t wait to hug the other one, running over to him way too quickly? That…that is the perpetrator. His grin gives him away. He thinks he’s getting off easy and that neither of them is getting in trouble. Or, similar to winning the lottery, the other brother will take the entirety of the fall and lose all the screen time. Because no screen time is as sweet as when your brother has to watch you play the game he wants to play…
The one who cringes and is grumpy? That’s the victim. He feels wronged. He can’t tell if he’s in trouble for something he didn’t do. Even worse, he now thinks that his brother is going to be let off the hook, and there is nothing worse than a guilty brother who still gets his screens. It boils the blood. He thinks those screens should have rightfully been my screens.
So far this has worked one out of one times.