A table for six with two high chairs please.
“Mom, can I have a milkshake?”
Sure. Order the Jr. Shake. (I realize afterward it would have been wiser to order one regular shake and split it between the two of them.)
A couple of burgers and sandwiches are ordered. Twins are given goldfish to appease them until their meals arrive.
Ok, girls. We brought you here for a FAMILY MEETING.
Their heads snap to attention and their eyes get big.
We’ve never done this before. This must be serious.
We need to talk about the way you have been behaving toward us and each other. We are a family. A family that needs to show each other respect.
We can’t have you yelling at each other. Or talking back to us. The eye rolling, feet stomping, door slamming, hitting, biting, all of that… it stops NOW.
You are already grounded for two weeks. You’ve lost privileges. That is non negotiable. It’s done.
Here’s the thing.
WE. DON’T. LIKE. IT. EITHER!
We don’t like it when you are grounded. We don’t like to have to ground you. But we can’t have you acting like the rules don’t matter. You have responsibilities around the house. You have responsibilities with your school work. And you have responsibilities as our children and as sisters. You can’t go around treating everyone around you like garbage.
If things continue the way they are, we won’t be taking you to soccer and drama and girl scouts.
You might even have to change schools.
Their eyes get even bigger and their lips start to move in protest.
So let’s talk about how you’re going to change things so you can continue to do the fun things. So you don’t keep getting grounded. Let’s set the standards. What are you going to change?
I have no idea if it’s going to work. But I had the crazy idea of Family Meeting to take place at a neutral location of Denny’s. Where we could command attention. Where there would be no talking back, yelling, or stomping off to their bedrooms. I think we might continue having them down the line.
The last few days have been better. Not perfect, of course. But the standards are set.
Heaven help us raising these girls. We’re just doing the best we can.