Dear Dr. Laura:
Our two boys, aged 10 and 7, were next door playing on a neighbor's trampoline with their two children. Unbeknownst to me, the older boys were "pantsing" each other - this is where you sneak up on someone and pull their pants down to embarrass them and get a laugh. I had no idea kids still did this! My younger boy came out to the front yard where we parents were, and he was crying. He said his brother "pantsed" him, but his underwear came down too, and he was mortified. We collected all the kids and told them this was an inappropriate game and it would not be tolerated.
When we got home, my husband said to our oldest "I think your little brother should choose your punishment because you embarrassed him so badly." Little brother then said he wanted the other to go to school the next day with no underwear on so if someone "pantsed" HIM, he would know what it felt like. I was unsure about this, but my husband agreed to it, so I kept my mouth shut.
That night at bedtime, my oldest was crying loudly, worried about what might happen at school the next day. My youngest was also crying in his room, saying that he felt bad and wanted to take back the punishment. He walked into his brother's room and I heard him say "You don't have to do that punishment. I don't want that to happen to you." My oldest, with great relief, said "Oh thank you! I'm so sorry I did that to you, and I promise I'll never do it again." They hugged, and it's a moment I'll never forget. Something changed in their relationship that night, and my oldest said he would never forget what his little brother did for him. Thanks to YOU, Dr. Laura, I prevented myself from interfering or I would have stopped that entire turning point from ever happening.
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