Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The not so secret Parenting plan (or divide and prosper)

If your kids are anything like mine, they can go for days or minutes with out fighting and play like long lost friends rediscovering why they were friends in the first place.

But when they don't it can be brutal (I have two boys) and difficult to determine what or whom caused it.

Its a little like Cabin Fever, just getting on each others nerves.

The last thing I want to do try and work out who to punish so I end up just punishing them both for being involved but that leads to an unhappy house.

As parents this can be exasperating, right ? After all its not like they handed us a "How to be a Parent " manual straight after the kids were born (I doubt I would have read it anyway) with all the answers to raising the perfect son/daughter.

Image courtesy of

So we hatched what at the time we thought was a perfect secret little plan.

So we do what we call "Divide and Conquer", I'll take one combatant boy and the Talented One will take the other and we will do things that each of them they enjoy. Call me old fashioned if you will but nothing works better than complete and un-distracted focus, even if  it's only from one parent.

Now this isn't as easy as it sounds. We are a one car family and intend on staying that way for sometime. It forces us to do things together and ensure that we all participate in each others activities. I'm hoping that the boys are learning empathy and tolerance from this little exercise. It's like learning to enjoy visiting your mother in law but when your 10 and not allowed to drink beer in the car on the way there.

So the weekend can go a little something like this:

Get up and prepare a break fast feast to power up for the day.

Clean up from this feast ( as I've used every pan and there is bacon fat on the wall)

Saturday basketball 

Come home and cook another weekend feast for dinner

Sunday get up and try to recreate prior days breakfast feast (using less pans than the day before and putting the bacon in the oven)

First Choir run for The Eldest

Lunch (by this meal SWMBO has us on salad sandwiches)

Second Choir run for Eldest which encompasses "The Sunday walk"
 to drop the Eldest at choir and then walk back the
 long way home to talk to the little guy one on one.

Not that I get a word in - with all the questions he has.

I'm pretty sure has saved up every question he had during the week and needs them all answered whilst we walk. I think he does this because he doesn't want his brother to know he has so many questions. I really see the difference in my sons when I deal with them on their own. I suppose they feel a little more comfortable with the one on one time as there is no risk of being judged when your other competitor sibling isn't present.

During the week the early morning 0800 start for the Eldest's choir is when we walk though the leafy suburbs of Melbourne just chatting one on one. Sometimes we pick a topic of discussion and then talk it through over the 30 minute walk. Sometimes we just talk about Minecraft the whole way. We never stay on topic for long and it's been a real eye opener for me.

As well as these weekly activities there are weekends planned where depending on schedules special one off excursions are planned.

For us it's all about that fine balance between together time and one on one time. The funny thing is no-one can tell us whether it's right or wrong because the final conclusion will only be known many, many years from now.

So that's our solution. Simple and so far completely effective. I'm not sure how secret it is though.

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