There are a lot of arguments in our house these days. Pup is becoming very opinionated, and while it's good he knows his own mind, we are finding that he is objecting to everything we ask him to do. And Tigs is growing up and challenging Pup more and more. In some ways he behaves like the elder brother despite being three years younger; he often takes the initiative, and makes the compromises; and he is stronger for his age and faster. Of course this means Pups big brother status is challenged, which results in a lot of conflict. This doesn't mean the boys don't get on, they are very attatched to each other, and would rather be together than apart 90% of the time; when they are together there is a lot of giggling, running about and wild sillyness. But they still argue a LOT.
So we have introduced the Peace Hippo.
He is small, soft, grey and furry and lives on the shelf in the hall, and he is supposed to help in mediation. If anyone has an argument with another family member, rather than shouting at them they run and get the hippo. While they are holding it they can have their say and not be interrupted. Then they need to pass it on to the other person involved in the dispute, who gets their turn to speak.
We've had mixed results with him so far. Sometimes the act of going to get him helps them calm down. And they have to think about what they are saying more when holding him, because they know they are being listened to (interruptions not allowed). Sometimes things escalate to far too fast and hippo gets forgotten. But I think he is helping!!!