Yesterday my children sniped at each other all day. Every other minute it seemed I was saying, "Stop talking like that to your sister! Don't talk to your brother like that!" I decided deafness is a reward for years of parenting. It was not very pleasant.
At dinner tonight, I realized that they had been speaking politely to each other most of the day. Saying 'please' and 'thank you', and playing cheerfully with each other. Very little sulking and stomping and snapping, and not demanding things from me, but asking politely and waiting patiently.
"So, you guys are being much more polite and pleasant today. What changed?" I asked.
"We had a talk with each other last night in our bedroom," one said.
"About how we were acting to each other," another said. "We think it's boring to be so rude. And we were hurting each other, so we decided to stop."
"And we apologized to each other," he said.
"How did this talk start?" I asked.
"It started because we were crying. So we talked about how it made us feel to be left out. And how we feel when bigger kids are mean to us."
"And I was leaving her out a lot," he confessed.
"And I was leaving myself out of having fun with them," she said. "I prayed that I would stop being mean to my brothers and sisters."