There’s nothing that sends a mother to the moon faster than bickering kids. I firmly believe driving under the influence of toddlers and teenagers should be illegal.
Why, yes, I’d vote for this legislation.I’ve had too many near fatal accidents where I secretly willed my Chevy Suburban off a cliff.
“Mom! David just threw something at me.”
“Knock it off, David. Don’t throw things at your sister.”
“But, Mom, Meghan threw her gum wrapper at me first!”
“I did not!”
“Liar! You did too!”
What is it about getting on the phone or behind the wheel of a car that makes a child lose their mind? It’s these magical moments of motherhood they never tell you about –the ones where children test boundaries and take you along for the ride. So, how do you keep from pulling over and swinging them like a dead cat?
Prepare. If talking things out between them doesn’t work, have a discipline plan ready and waiting. If your kids are old enough to verbally express themselves, this isn’t your first rodeo. Discipline is a tool. We use it as parents to teach our children. Like I said, be prepared. Don’t let a child wear you down. I’m sure you’ve experienced this too many times to count: arguing kids who won’t stop no matter how often you use your “quiet voice” or how nicely ask them to “use their words”. And, for the love of pete…puhleaaasseeee stop counting to ten. All you’re teaching them to do is count.
My two youngest (12 and 15) recently came to me and shared that they were arguing and busted their bathroom vanity door like rock stars – except they aren’t rock stars. Did I mention this was in our brand-spankin- new house? After taking a few minutes alone in my bedroom to regroup, breathe deeply and pray I didn’t kill them, I calmly told them to get me a piece of paper. I then proceeded to write a list of chores that would keep them busy for a LONG TIME. I was prepared.
When I discipline my children I make sure it benefits me, too.
Won’t stop fighting? Vacuum the rugs.
Can’t stop tormenting your sister? Clean the baseboards with a toothbrush.
Continue to take your brother’s things without asking? Make his bed for the week.
Arguing over a TV show? TV is off for two days. Read a book, instead.
Oh friends, I have a million of them. But, do you know the GREATEST benefit to disciplining your bickering kids?
They no longer see each other as the enemy. That title now belongs to you. Why? Because you’re the mean ogre who gave them a chore or took something away they loved like their iPod or iPhone. Which is great, because now those same two kids who were trying to gouge each other’s eyes out? They magically become allies and old friends, like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill right before your eyes.
So, the next time your little angels are acting like drunken sailors on payday, just imagine me whispering in your ear this golden nugget of truth: Don’t be afraid to discipline bickering kids. Nothing brings them closer than serving time together.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11