So my daughters are arguing (again). By arguing, I of course mean screaming and threatening to kill each other:
‘She read my diary !’ yells the eldest.
‘Did you ?’ I referee.
‘No.’ But the tone of her voice and her body language screams the opposite.
‘I’m gonna to kill you !’
I hate it when their arguments escalate to threats. Or actual physical assault; it means I’m forced to take a stand, and I have to admit, I’m not really equipped for it.
To the youngest I advised:
‘Don’t read your sister’s diary, it’s private and personal and you would hate it if she did that to you.’ Some days, the right things just trip off the tongue, don’t they ?
To the wounded party:
‘If you don’t want your sister to read your diary there are a two things you can do about it; put a lock on it or hide it.’ (There was also actually a third option, which I thought it best not to raise; ‘don’t make it such a page turner’, honest to God it’s all ‘he said, she said’, ‘this boy, that boy’, in her sister’s defence it’s really hard to put down.)
Later I realised that I’d just run away from a difficult conversation and by doing so I’d led one daughter to believe that she couldn’t leave her personal items unguarded without her privacy being invaded and let another get away with unacceptable behaviour. I actually didn’t have the energy to make myself the bad guy and so tried to save myself some hassle.
Have you ever done that ? Avoided a difficult conversation in the short-term, only to have the situation fester and make the subsequent (inevitable) conversation longer, harder and louder ? If you find you do this often, take a deep breath and ask yourself, why ? (If you can’t break the habit, hire a coach or some other support to help you.)
If you do it only occasionally, give yourself a break, no one’s perfect.
If you’ve never done it, stop reading my blogs and go back to working to end world hunger, you saint.