It’s Thursday afternoon, and your kids are watching TV after school. It’s not quite time to get dinner started, so you take the moment of quiet to sit down and read a book. You’ve just gotten comfy and…what happens next?
You know the drill. It could be Saturday morning when you’re trying to sleep in, or Sunday afternoon when you’re trying to enjoy family time or Monday morning while you’re doing laundry. Just about anyone who has kids can tell you that just about any time you get settled doing something of your own, you can just about guarantee the kids will start fighting.
“MooOooOoooOooMMm!!!” (Why do they always use that same awful voice?!)
When my kids were babies, I couldn’t wait for the day they would be old enough to play together, and I’m not gonna lie, it has been incredible. My kids have always enjoyed a close friendship, but when they are small, the line between a child’s “hug” and “hit” is rather blurry. I had to stay close by because frequent intervention was just part of the game. They fought over toys, what show to watch, who was sitting where, what color cup they had. I played with them — or did my thing in the same room when I could — so I could help them navigate how to be in relationship with another human.
Now my kids are 12, nine, eight, and four, and they have learned a thing or two about getting along. They still fight about toys, what show to watch, who is sitting where, and…okay they don’t really care about colored dishes anymore, thank heavens. And while I have been telling them their whole lives to respect one another, share, take turns, and be kind, I know this will remain a struggle until they all move out and get their own spaces.