Dr. G, I have a question. My kids are always fighting about who gets to sit where in the car. It’s driving me bonkers. Help!
David, in Faribault, MN
I talked about the uselessness of getting too wrapped up in the bickering last week.
However, what if the bickering is preventing something from happening that the parent requires? Taking David’s example, the boys are bickering about seats in the car. I can hear it in my head “It’s my turn to sit there! No, you sat there last time.”
- Let the boys know that they have 20 seconds to sort it out and all be buckled in, or you will assign seats. Ideally, explain this to them when they are not all getting in the car – like at breakfast.
- When the bickering starts you’ll call out “Twenty seconds” and just watch your second hand. If you’re kind, give a “5 seconds!” warning.
- Any of them can call for a referee, but then they all need to abide by the rule you set at the time and any penalty you choose to impose (push-ups anyone?). No TV instant replay (meaning they don’t get to each tell you their side and why everyone else is wrong).
This may motivate them to work it out in a fair way, it may not. In reality though, it will solve your problem. They will get in the car safely and if you need to step in it will be final. Bring a whistle. Let me know how it goes.