When my children were young we started regular family meetings, a Sunday evening event where we could discuss any topic at all. It was used as a forum for discipline, planning holidays, and anything else that popped into our heads! At one meeting, arguments and fights between the boys were discussed, and it was agreed they had to sort them out calmly in their bedroom, and then tell one of us how it had been resolved.
Occasionally the meeting agenda contained topics even the adults weren’t so happy about!! However, it fostered an environment where we didn’t hold grudges with each other, and most difficult things did get sorted out in a healthy manner. The boys were taught to be more rational with their disputes, and often elected their own punishment if their behaviour was worthy of it.
They learnt to sort out their disputes without yelling, kicking, screaming, sulking, fighting, etc… In fact this was their choice, as after reading a parenting book to them there they had seen signage similar to a no smoking sign, and elected to make our family a “No smacking (dad), no yelling (mum and dad), no screaming (mum), no kicking, no fist fighting, no sulking (dad)” family, then drew up signs and stuck them all around the house. Of course, in their enthusiasm, they had forgotten these rules applied to themselves!
However, a couple of years later, my dear husband and I were sitting in the living room, both very tired from a long day at work, and both on edge and stressed about our respective lives… work, children, school fees, ex’s, you name it, it was probably in there!! An argument started, and without thinking, we became rather heated (irrational???!!!) and started yelling at each other, and a few moments later our boys popped their little heads into the room and nervously suggested we should “go into our rooms to sort it out”, and then come and tell them how we had resolved it.
They were obviously extremely nervous about getting into our firing lines, but were very relieved when we became silent, then looked at them, looked at each other, and started laughing…