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Opening Doors

The girls have gotten into a bit of a rut fights-wise: Cora gets frustrated and storms to her room, and Maddie doesn’t want to let (fill in the blank) go and tries to push open Cora’s door, forcing the door open or running over Cora in the process.

In retaliation, Cora’s begun locking her door – mostly as a defense mechanism against Maddie. It’s her last card to play against the sheer superior strength that Maddie has. So it’s a smart move, except that locking doors is illegal in our house.

Yes, even in the bathroom.

Yesterday things came to a head once again, and the fighting escalated so quickly that by the time I made it upstairs tempers were quite high and I had to pick Maddie up and carry her to her room. Both girls had right on their sides in one form or another; both girls had wronged the other. Both girls were sobbing.

It was time to make a change.

So I went into Maddie’s room, and we talked about this habit she’s got of forcing her way into Cora’s room, even when Cora clearly doesn’t want her there and is trying to calm down. “This is a really bad habit, honey, and you need to learn to respect people’s privacy here. There’s absolutely no reason at all to force your way into Cora’s room unless she’s was physically ill or in some sort of physical danger.”

Maddie sobbed stubbornly. “But I can’t stop! I just can’t stop it!”

I took a deep breath.

“Well, here’s the deal. If you keep forcing yourself into Cora’s room, I’m going to have to take your door off its hinges. You keep disrespecting Cora’s privacy, and you will lose your own privacy. Which means that your cat will sleep in the bathroom instead of shut in your own room, and you’ll be changing without a door and taking quiet time without a door.”

Maddie was speechless.

“BUT” – I continued – “I’m confident I won’t need to do that. I know you can learn to control yourself.” And I walked out.

Then I went to Cora’s room. “Cora, honey, you have got to stop locking your bedroom door. It’s not safe, and we’ve told you several times you cannot lock your door unless you’re in grave physical harm. And your sister’s never harmed you, so trying to get away from her doesn’t count. So if you continue locking your door, we’re going to need to remove your door to make sure you can’t lock us out again. Do you understand?”

Cora sobbed. And then sobbed harder when she learned it meant she’d lose her cat at night.

So both girls have been warned, and neither one knows the other’s in danger of losing her own door as well.

What will happen? I honestly don’t know. I just know that we try to make the consequences fit the offence here, and this was the best I could think of at that moment. I’m praying very hard that neither door needs to come off.

I’ll let you know what happens.


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