Archive for May, 2011

Raising kids that actually like each other

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Mother’s Day is over and Father’s Day is up next.   

Moms like a spa day while dads prefer the couch, remote and watching the game.  Though parents are wired differently, there is one gift both would love – for their children to get along. 

Our children’s petty arguments put us in the role of referee.  We have to remember the last call made as they wait for the call on the current play.  In our kids’ world, that’s a clear indication of the favorite child.  

Understand that every child is meant to be an only child. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am one of six kids and love my brothers and sisters.  Better said, I love them now, but not necessarily when I was growing up.   

We have more than one child because we have so much love for our first child that we want more.  But imagine if your spouse comes home and says, “Honey, I love you so much, I want another spouse.”  Wait – that’s already a reality show!  Kidding aside, our children want our love and attention all to themselves – no sharing. 

Here is something that I guarantee works if you want your children to get along.

This idea may exist in different forms or slight variations, but if you do this you can stop all the accounting that comes with parenting, whether it’s the movie pick or choosing the story that gets read at bedtime.  It works so well, that when my kids were in high school, the teachers would ask me what we did that got my kids to be so nice to each other.

Our parenting instincts kick in when you sense something is not right.  Knowing what you don’t know is important, and fortunately you can visit Parental Wisdom® to help sort through it all.  One of those instinctive moments for me was when Michael was three and Noelle was nineteen months old.  As the older child Michael was more verbal and as a result, got his way more often.  I realized that could have been the start of the favorite child syndrome.  So I went to the calendar and wrote M (for Michael) on that day, and N (for Noelle) on the next day and did that for the rest of the month, and child of the day was born.  It didn’t matter if it was a birthday, or holiday, we always looked to the calendar to see who was the child of the day when a choice had to be made.

Child of the day is a system of responsibilities and rewards. 

Responsibilities are those in addition to a child’s chores, and the rewards are the choices a parent makes a dozen times a day which (appear to) favor one child over the next.   The kids would go right to the calendar; it was a decision that I didn’t have to make.   No more umpire stripes; I would shrug my shoulders and just follow the objective result.  It took me out of the game.

We finally stopped child of the day when they were in their late teens.  I knew it worked because I asked them separately, “who do you think is the favorite?”   They each said, “Me!”

I’m thinking of taking this to the Middle East. 

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®