Disclaimer: I do not own Family Ties. Mallory is the oldest in this story
"Steven," Elise said, "I think Mallory has a point. It's hard for her to always be compared to Alex. I mean first of all he's 2 years younger then her and he's advanced on everything whereas in everyone's mind she is average. I don't think a consequence for buying the test answers will help. In fact, I'm concerned it will do much harm then good. She may once again feel like her little brother is better then she is."
Steven sighed deeply. He knew Elise was right.
"Well fine then," he said, "But we can't allow her to continue doing things like that. We have to have a talk with her at the very least."
"I know," Elise said, "But we need to have a talk with her that encourages her. She knows what she did was wrong. She understands all of that. It's not like she thinks she did nothing wrong."
"Sure," he said, "Mal could you come down here for a minute?"
"Yeah sure," Mallory said, "I'll be right there"
She was down in under a minute.
"Sit down sweetheart," Elise said.
Mallory sat down on her dad's favorite armchair.
"Honey you know what you did was wrong and I don't think that it's needed to go into why you shouldn't have done it or anything else. What you do need to know is that you are just as good as Alex."
"Yeah right," Mallory said, "That's why all my teachers are surprised I'm related to the genius boy who skipped 3 grades and is a year ahead of me even though he's two years younger then me.
"He's got his strong points but he doesn't have your compassion. He doesn't have your concern and he doesn't have your smile. We love all of you children. You know that right?"
"I guess," Mallory said, "But I sometimes feel like I don't fit in and I don't remember not fitting in."
"Mal everyone is their own person. You know we're looking for an advice columnist down at the station. You could do that after school and during the few days suspension."
"Oh wow that would be great," Mallory said, "I love giving advice... especially if it's about makeup or clothes"
"Some of it may be," Steven said, "But most of it is about things you've been going through"
"I know. I was joking about the makeup and clothes. Thank you for giving me a chance to shine"
She hugged her parents and felt happy again for the first time in awhile.