Every significant disagreement between siblings happens out of sight of the parents. Every single one.
Parents will usually only get involved or directly co-opted when tears start to roll or after a loud crash is heard, followed by a heartbeat of silence, followed immediately by tears and bedlam. As it happens, if a disagreement gets to this point, it’s often too late for a parent to resolve equitably. The best they can do is randomly assign a winner and then they risk the ire of at least one child.
This got me thinking about the potential for a new app, one that both parents download and use with a shared account.
It goes like this; the names of the siblings are captured up front as part of the config. When a dispute arises in the house, the app is consulted in much the same way one would consult an Oracle. Parents could amplify the spectacle here by making a big fuss about the Oracle being called upon to decide who wins.
Ooooh, I think we need to check what theOracle says…
The more ceremony involved here, the more buy-in you’ll have. The dispute is then catagorised, the number and nature of opposing opinions is entered and ultimately a winner decided based purely on picking the next sibling eligible for a win.
This, I think, is much fairer than a random choice. The idea is also quite straight-forward and thus easy enough to explain to the halflings if you choose to let them in on the trick. It would take the burden of remembering who ‘won’ the last time off the parent and that, I can assure you, is a superfine thing.
The more analytical among us would be able to go back and look at stats like how many disputes there were in the last month, the days of week when disputes were at their peak, who the parent actually believed was in the wrong in each instance (which might reveal which child you love more) and so on.
Yes, literally a wealth of information available for datamining your offspring. The more information you capture about the dispute, the deeper you can dig into your mine.
Fairness is overrated. Most of the time, parents will never know who was actually in the wrong on a given day in a given situation and so there is a possibility that disputes can be awarded to a party incorrectly every so often. But the app will average that anomaly out over time and in the end I think that’s much fairer than parent guesswork after the fact.
I’ll admit it does sound a little more like a turn-based role playing game than a modern parenting technique for resolving disputes but to that I say; you are dealing with children and really the only things they understand clearly are ‘mine’ and ‘not mine’. So this way, they alternate victory across disputes in the fairest possible way. Mathematically. That is until the database storing the history is lost. Then it’s back to The King Solomon version of things.
Or, you know, you could just flip a coin.