Thursday, April 23, 2009

What's new on the mom front

Sigh. Sometimes I do feel like it's a "front" here at Casa Baila. Lately the kids have been bickering. ALOT. I know this behavior is normal, but its really been bad lately. They've been mean to each other. I really hate it; I want them to grow up close and I feel like if this continues or gets worse, it could really impact our future as a unified family. And I know I'm not reacting right. (Maybe that's a slight understatement). I feel like I've been doing something wrong here. How can I change this? Do your kids bicker? Any tips, anyone?

In other mom news I have to admit to some [additional] guilt. This morning before I woke up the kids I noticed that we were low on milk. And I wanted a bowl of cereal. Hmmm. So when they stumbled into the kitchen for breakfast I casually told them we're low on milk, can you have some yogurt or rice cakes for breakfast? And they did, without protest, even though they'd also prefer cereal. And now I'm enjoying my morning bowl of corn flakes. But, uh-oh. Let me go check something...whew, there is enough milk left (barely) for Isaac's morning cup-of-Joe.

And, I leave you with some links:

Mother in Israel has the Kosher Cooking Carnival (and maybe some advice for my little issue described above?)

Haveil Havalim #213 is up at The Real Shaliach.

Shabbat Shalom!


Unknown said...

"They've been mean to each other....Any tips, anyone?"Ear plugs, my friend, ear plugs....

Trust me when I say we "feel your pain" on this one.....


SuperRaizy said...

We also went through a "mean bickering" stage a short while ago. (The fact that your kids and mine are about the same ages makes me wonder if it's an age-related phase.) I reacted the same way you did. I was very disturbed by it and worried that it meant that they would never like each other again. I made my displeasure VERY clear by telling them over and over "We are a family. We may not always agree, but we do need to treat each other with respect". I cracked down hard on the name calling. I intervened when the fighting got nasty and sent them to separate rooms. I spoke with each child individually, trying to make each see things from the other's perspective. And once (only once) I flipped out and started yelling "Stop fighting! I turned my whole life upside down so that there would be no fighting in my house and now look what you're doing!" That reference to my divorce stunned them a bit and they shut up for a while (this is NOT a tactic that I would recommend).
Did any of it help? Probably. Would they have stopped eventually on their own? Possibly. If your girls have always been close in the past, then the bickering is probably temporary. Three adolescent girls in one apartment can lead to a lot of hormone-fueled fights. Just keep stressing tolerance and respect (no name calling!) and this should pass within a few weeks or so.
Good luck and please let us know what happens.

SuperRaizy said...

I just clicked over to and found this great article:
"In Defense of Bickering":

Read it. It will definitely make you feel better.

Leora said...

In my house the bickering level seems to rise as other stress-levels rise. Last summer when my middle son went to camp, my eldest and youngest battled a lot. When he returned, it wasn't so bad. Any patterns to the bickering?

Sometimes when a person who feels lousy interacts with another person who feels lousy, fighting results. Since teens tend to feel lousy a lot, this might tend to happen more often. Is there a way to ease some of the teen lousy feelings?

I can related to Raizy's statement about all of a sudden screaming and then kids reacting (though it my case it's not a reference to divorce). It's not recommended, yet sometimes it achieves an effect of "Oh, mom is serious after all."

Ear plugs sound good. I could use them for my daughter's tantrums.

Baila said...


I never thought of earplugs. Thanks for understanding.


Thanks. I have also lost it and said, well not such smart things...the article did make me feel a bit better.


Things right now are not particularly stressful--not more than our usual daily stuff. They just seem more mean lately...

One thing I've decided to do is to try to do fun things with them together a bit more. Today we went to a local park with the dog and they had fun--it was a very positive experience. (Maybe partially because I lost it with them yesterday, but still).

Jack Steiner said...

I was the only boy among far too many sisters and at times we all fought.

Most of the time it was all of my sisters against me, some sort of unholy female alliance against the forces of good.

Sorry, old habits die hard. ;) In fact my oldest nephew once told me that he was in awe of how well I can tease his mother, but that is not relevant here.

The point is that though we all fought, we are all close today. Some of it is just part of growing up.

Anonymous said...

In my humble opinion, it is right to tell them how it makes you feel and why you think it's wrong. It is probably a phase but showing disapproval shows them that you expect things to change as they grow and develop.

JJ said...

I feel your pain- my 3 boys bicker at times and for me, it is the WORST sound in the world. I hate hearing it- nails on a chalkboard would be preferable! Sorry, I haven't found any magic formula so I can't tell you how to make it stop- I'm just giving your misery some company. :-)

Anonymous said...

My brother and I (now 33 and 30, respectively) used to bicker and fight ALL the time when we were younger, though we'd also have each other's backs when needed (e.g., when a bully made fun of my name walking home from school - I was maybe 10 at the time, and he was 13). It was a difficult time, to be sure. Then he left for college, and we had about 3 years of little communication - phone calls were very short, it was before e-mail was so popular (though we did use it occasionally), and our only real interaction was over his breaks from school. My senior year of high school, I started to notice a change, especially when I visited him up at school. I ended up going to the same college that he attended (although the fact that he went there was the biggest strike against the school - because I wanted to be my own person and not "X's younger sister"), and that overlap year was the best thing for us - we became actual friends (because we had an underlying love and respect for each other as siblings, even through our fighting as kids). We are very close now.

I guess what I'm trying to say is give it time... and give each of them space to develop as individuals and grow up a little bit. Definitely some of it can be attributed to their age. When I reflect on the past, I think what we needed was to develop our own identities independent of the other. And we needed the opportunity to MISS each other. When we spent too much time together as children, we couldn't appreciate each other. But when we were separated, that changed. Obviously, you can't separate your children for long periods of time, especially given their ages. But if they have extra-curricular interests, maybe having them be in different groups/organizations (even if it's a little bit harder on you) will help.

I'm not a parent, and certainly my experience was my own and does not rise to the level of a scientifically validated solution, but I have found that being able to miss something I love, even for a few hours, helps me to appreciate it that much more.

Good luck!