[li]Allow your adult, younger sibling to provoke you into anger[/li][li]Threaten to kick sibling out of your house[/li][li]When your father threatens to leave if you follow through, encourage him to find the door.[/li][/ol]
Yeah, so I guess when I write it that way, I can see where I share a significant portion of the blame. But my brother was just poking the proverbial bear with a stick trying to get a rise out of me during my kid’s birthday party. He got that rise and then continued to poke, seeing how far I’d go.
My daughter, age 4, had some questions about why Pop-Pop left the house yelling and why I was crying and angry with him. I explained in ways she would understand without poisoning her against them. I told her how I was really mad at my dad and my brother. I compared it to how she gets angry with her brother. So she asked, “Do you want to punch him in the face?” I giggled and said, “Yes, I’m that mad, but I’d never hit him. I’m mad enough that I don’t even want to have to see them for Easter. We’ll make up, and it’s an important lesson for you to learn here about taking the high road and being the better person.” I went on to explain what “taking the high road” meant with some mixed success. What I said is there. What she heard is in bold.
The next morning Grandma called and I didn’t answer. My daughter said she wanted to talk to Grandma. So I figured I shouldn’t stop her from talking to her just because I was mad at my father and brother (who’s living at home for the time being). I dialed, and handed over the phone.
And what did my darling daughter say to Grandma? “Daddy doesn’t want to talk to you. Pop-Pop and Uncle Scott made him upset all night. He wants to punch Uncle Scott and Pop-Pop in the face. He’s not going to see you for Easter either.”
Me and my mouth. Ugh.