“Yeah!” said James enthusiastically. “I don’t mind sharing a room with Al—Teddy could have my room!”
“No,” said Harry firmly, “you and Al will share a room only when I want the house demolished.”
("Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows", Epilogue)
My 2 kids by themselves are reasonably well behaved and mature for their ages. They can be left alone in a room/floor (while the parent is working or doing chores elsewhere in the house) for hours at a time, with rarely a misbehavior happening. Especially the older one.
However, like Oxygen and Hydrogen, when combined, they become a maelstrom of destruction - it's almost assured that by the end of 1 or 2 hours they would at best turn the entire house into complete mess, and at worst do literally several hundred dollars worth of damage (usually, in a way that is so quiet that the only way you KNOW something is wrong is by absence of sounds from them).
So far, the ONLY solution that ever worked was to forbid them to play together unless someone adult is in the same room to supervise - which is not always feasible.
This isn't a solution I like, so I am looking for a better alternative of how to manage the issue than the Harry Potter approach.
- Rewarding them for behaving well when together. That only lasts 1-3 days
- Discussions over what should and shouldn't be done (which is 100% useless - they virtually NEVER do such bad stuff when alone, and know perfectly well that it's bad).
- Discussions with the older one over "You're an older sibling, can we trust you to keep an eye out for the younger one and tell her not to do bad things"? He likes the idea of that trust and responsibility as a concept... but forgets about it pretty soon.
- Discussions with the older one over "Never do what your sibling suggests if you know it's wrong" (or when anyone suggests in the first place). Again, perfect agreement... up until it's 2 of them for a significant period of time.
- Harsh punishment for causing trouble as a pair (including being separated from each other for several days).
P.S. No, they do NOT share a room. We do not want the house demolished, thankyouverymuch.