Saturday, March 21, 2009

Brotherly love - yuck...

Having grown up in a household full of boys (my sisters were all older and out of the house by the time I came along) I know all about brotherly love. I think I am such a tough (strong - can take pain etc.) person because of all that brotherly love. (think having to play tackle football in the STREET as a form of blackmail - I had to play so that they wouldn't tell mom that I skipped school)

So I get it when I hear my two oldest bickering and arguing. I know that it is normal. And I know that my brothers and I drove my mother crazy with it when we were younger.

I also know when my two oldest - my 13 and 11 yr olds - argue and bicker (over nothing, and over everything - today was among other things, yogurt) its normal. I get it, really I do. But I refuse to let it drive me any more crazy than I already am. The only problem is, how do you stop it? Let me tell you it takes some creative thoughts, but I finally found a way to get them to stop. And it works 99% of the time.

First off let me tell you that they have always had a love/hate relationship. They either love eachother, or they hate eachother. And it can change second to second. When they were younger (5 and 7) they would go at it - fist fighting, and it took me forever to get them to stop. What finally worked was I used masking tape and taped off a square on the floor, popped popcorn, and Lale and I sat on the couch and made them stand inside the square. I told them that if they wanted to box, then fine they could box all they wanted to, but we wanted some entertainment, so we would watch. After I made the boxing ring, they just stood there looking at eachother and refused to hit eachother. After that, there has been no more physical arguing - except maybe the occasional 'accidental' pushing and the like.

Now that they are preteenagers/teenagers they prefer to use there mouths to get at eachother. And there are days I swear it would drive me to drink. I hate it. I mean if you want to argue, the least you can do is make it over something big. And Im sorry, the fact that she said sorry she stepped on your foot is NOT a reason to get an attitude. Neither is the fact that he ate a cheesecake yogurt, and left one for you. (Yes I did say LEFT one - not ate them all, but LEFT one).

Well a little over a year ago, I realized the BEST punishment for all of this brotherly love. It is sort of like the forced apology, but only 100 times better. I just call it the Brotherly Love. Oh kids, if you dont shut it up, you will get the Brotherly Love. Usually just the threat of it is enough to shut them up. It is rare that I actually have to make them do it.

Today was one of those days. And look how happy they were to demonstrate how much Brotherly Love they have... (just check out the expressions of joy)

Yes thats right, I make them hug. But it isn't just any old hug, oh no. It starts out as a 5 minute hug. And if they argue or make any comment while doing that hug, the time doubles each time I have to talk to them. If after the hug, they continue to have issues, they will have to hug again, and again and again until they can learn to get along. And each time they have to hug the time is doubled from the previous time. So it goes 5 min., 10 min., 20 min, 40 min. and so on and so on.

The first day I used the Brotherly Love we made it to 20 minutes before they realized that I wasn't playing. After that day, usually just the threat will work, but on the rare occasions that I have to actually resort to it, 5 minutes seems to cure the attitudes. Plus now that they are older, I can add the threat of posting pictures of them hugging online (I wouldn't do that though - would I??) and it has been rumored that I have told them I would record a video and put it on youtube too. Oh the horrors of being a teen and having me for your mother.

HEHEHE - never underestimate the power of embarassment. Really. I always threatened my kids that if they acted up in school, I would be the parent who would show up in curlers, a muu muu and flip flops and would sit next to that child all day long, hold his/her hand between each class and basically embarass the living daylights out of said child. The threat seems to have worked so far - and they know that I would gladly do that too, LOL.

After they were done hugging, I made Jordan take off her robe (it was cold in here) so that I could take a comparison picture of the two of them. Look at the difference between them in Honduras, and them here in the US.

What a difference fast food makes, LOL.


Amie Vaughan said...

i love it! that is hilarious! i'm glad you found something that works, as well. =D

Live Simply Love Strongly said...

ROTFL! That is great! One more thing to add to my bag of tricks.

Crystal said...

That sounds like what I need to do. And then the threat of showing up in curlers to their school. Except I would tell mine that I would show up in my Betty Boop pants with my fuzzy pink bedroom shoes.

Amanda said...

I knew you had to have some tricks up your sleeves to keep everyone in order. I only have three, but I think I could learn alot from you. I have all girls ages 2, 4 and 6 and they already fight over anything. Feel free to share anytime, you should probably write some type of mommy handbook. Great Blog!

Joy said...

Way to go mom!!!!!!!!! I'm going to use this on my 11 and 13 year olds. Watch out here comes some brotherly love!!

Amanda said...

I tried this yesterday and boy did it work! My girls played nice for the rest of the evening. I'm calling it sisterly love

Heather said...

I make my kids hug and make up too even when they are pissed. Thanks for letting me it works till the end of time, lol!

Honduras Sprout said...

I'm going to remember these things for when my two younger ones are older. Now...what's the deal with my 11 year old and my almost 4 year old having this weird love/hate relationship too? It drives me NUTS!
Brotherly love...that's good.

Isn't that crazy about the weight/growth too! I was just looking through some photos of my oldest in Honduras last year and seeing the same thing! She left Honduras last June in a size 10 juniors and less than a year later is now in a 14!