Parenting, a challenge that no book can prepare you for. Over the years, as a mom of 13, I’ve come up with some creative disciplines that work. When my two oldest (now in their 30s) were ages three and five, they were having a difficult time getting along. As a busy mom, I was at the end of my rope one afternoon when I had one of those “light bulb” moments go off in my head.
Finally, after a full morning of squabbles, I told them they had one more opportunity to get along or they were going to have to do some chores. “Fine” they chorused. In less than 10 minutes, they were at it again. I quietly left the room. I returned with two clean flour sack dishtowels and two spray bottles that had vinegar and water in them.
I sat them down and told them that since they couldn’t get along, they were going to have to do some extra chores. They moaned loudly. I handed each one of them a spray bottle and a dishtowel.
I said that until they could get along, they were going to do some chores. We would begin with windows. They frowned, but I continued. I told them that they could trade off who was inside or outside but for now, the older of the two would be outside.
I then took him outside and told him that his job was to wash the outside of the sliding glass door as high as he could reach (to avoid falls I stated quite clearly that I would do the upper section). I then shut the door and explained to the three-year-old that she had to do the inside of the same window.
There were some giggles coming out of both of them in short order. They were actually having fun and the bonus was that my sliding glass door was getting clean. After about half an hour however, they were getting bored and told me so. I asked them if they were ready to get along. “Yes” they chorused.
I had no further issues that day. To this day, when my children don’t get along I tell them once that if they can’t then they will have to have help more with chores. Rarely do I have to go from there. Generally, they find a way to work it out quickly.