When I was growing up – especially in my Teens I was pretty much left to my own devises. I had very very few rules and was pretty much allowed to do whatever I wanted. I always thought this was because my Mum had a very strict upbringing which she hated. I loved it at the time and took advantage of the situation – as you would. Thinking back I think she was lucky that I didn’t do anything really stupid. I mean I was stupid, I did stupid things but I never got myself into any trouble.
Knowing what I know and having done the things I’ve done I could never parent my children that way. We have rules, we have boundaries and with that comes friction. And arguing. I like to think we are firm but fair. Instead of constantly laying down the law we try to reason with them.
The biggest thing I think I’m yet to master is knowing when to fight them on something and when to let it fly. For example things like when the kids are arguing I don’t always get involved. I let it go and try to get them to sort it out themselves. I think that there is a lot of compromise needed to make things run smoothly, but also I have a few tricks up my sleeve for the simpler tasks. Instead of constantly nagging them to tidy up etc I use a different approach. Here are some of my tricks that seem to help.
Hide things from them – if they always leave things lying around the house move them. For instance if they leave PE trainers dumped in a bag when they get in put them somewhere they won’t look for them i.e your room. Let them search all of their usual dumping grounds without any luck, let them panic a little and then sneakily put them back in the place they should be kept.
The bin bag trick – Kids bedrooms are a common source of conflict especially when they get older and don’t want you to step into their rooms. Mine get three warnings to tidy them up (I don’t expect them to be spotless but I have a limit) before the bin bags come out. If they won’t do it, I will. Very very rare that I actually have to do it – can’t even remember the last time. The sight of/threat of me putting all the mess in the bin gets them to do it. Too mean? Who cares it works.
Talk – We try to diffuse arguments by just simply having a discussion. Admittedly it doesn’t always work and often ends with someone stomping off up the stairs feeling very hard done by, but at least we all got our point across.
Let it go – this is the most important one for me. Just let somethings go. I don’t have the energy or botherdness (is that a word – it should be) to argue about every little thing. I could argue with Madam about the same things every day but sometimes I will just let it slide if it’s not really such a big deal. I mean nobody is really going to get hurt if she keeps hanging her school blazer on the end of bed where I’ve specifically told her not to 1723 times. Likewise she’d not really doing anyone any harm dressing like she’s in the Bahamas then curling up in her quilt for hours on ends. These little battles aren’t really worth my time. We have enough big battles to deal with.
How do you cope with stroppy kids? Any tactics you’d care to share.