Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Surviving the Duelling Years

My kids fight. 
I like to think of it more as duelling, standing up one against the other each aspiring to be the victor.  With their eye on the end of the battle prize where they can claim that special seat next to mum or that supped up matchbox car with the cool exhaust.  As a parent you have a couple of options;  retreat to the other end of the house, pretend they are the neighbours kids or give them some tactics to resolve those daily skirmishes by themselves.  NO ADULTS REQUIRED.

The main goal of these daily battles for my 3 boys is a win-win solution.
 I win – no retreating required.   They win – fairness restored.
Here are some of my sanity tactics that I have devised for some the most annoying battles.
1.       I Get Shotgun! 
The throne next to the driver’s seat, the most wanted seat in the world. Kids act as if they would instantly be knighted if only they could beat their siblings to this idolized seat.  I guess they are really competing for the love and affection of the queen mum.  But, you can’t pick who gets the front seat, that would be deemed as picking a victor and you don’t want to hear the bickering.  So you get them to claim ownership.  How?
One way trip – first to call shotgun gets it (i.e. school drop-off)

Round trip – first to call shotgun gets it on the way there, the other gets it on the way back.  More than two kids, then two call outs. 
2.       That’s My Toy!

It’s the exhausting never ending, “That’s my toy!”  “No it’s mine!” “Nu-huh!” There are a couple of tactics to handle this scenario;

·         Write their name on every toy they get.  Works great with matchbox cars.
·         Just take it away, on the spot.  No questions asked.  They will probably forget the toy ever existed.
·         Although this won’t work for Lego’s, it’s just too many pieces to label or take away.  I try to get them to barter, where a Lego man can be exchanged for a couple of swords.  Sometime this diversion tactic works.

3.       Not My Cup!

We use to have abandoned cups all over the house.  Of course they are nobody’s, right?  So nobody has to pick them up, right?  Wrong.  We now have cups that change names, so when you get a cup from the cupboard you change it to your name and voila (wah lah) it’s yours.  Nobody goes away. 

So it’s peaceful now, right.  Wrong again.  Siblings will always duel; it teaches them how to resolve conflict.  They learn to compromise and cooperate with each other, a great life lesson for the workforce.  Little SpongeBob’s in the making. 
by Shelly, mom of four and designer of the MyColourCup and owner of Twistid Products.

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