Q • This is somewhat of a silly concern, but lately my kids have been ganging up against me when it comes to household and various rules. I do try to listen and sometimes they do make sense. If I give in, then it seems like they start plotting their next protest. How did I get into this mess and how do I get out?
From a reader • When my kids were as young as 7 and 9, they used to gang up on both me and their dad. Their complaints were planned out to the point that usually the older one had a more elaborate and detailed part. Like you said, sometimes whatever it was did make sense. Other times, it made no sense at all. Try to talk to your kids separately. That’s what I did just so that it would stop, at least for a while. If their suggestions made sense, I’d talk to my husband and we would either meet them halfway or simply say no. If you say no, you will need to stick with it so thinking about it first is essential. — Tam B. in Little Rock, Arkansas
From Jodie Lynn • This is a situation that will continue to the end of time. Kids will always try to get what they want, and siblings will team up to try to get even more.
I agree that speaking to each child separately is the way to go. This way you can prevent them from ganging up on you, and you can also try to get to the root of the problem.
I also agree that listening to them, as long as they’re not being mean and throwing a fit, is always an option that should be considered, within reason.
You’ll need to pick your fights and act like a true diplomat. For example, if they’re complaining about chores, homework, screen time, etc., these may very well be a no-negotiation topic.
If it’s about dinners, clothes, friends, etc., depending on what it is that they’re suggesting, maybe there is some wiggle room.
They’re going to take their cues from you as to whether or not to proceed so don’t react right away. Be sure to think about it before responding, like the reader above suggested, otherwise, they’ll know exactly how to push your buttons. If it’s an idea worthy of contemplating, tell them you’ll consider things and get back to them. If you decide that it’s a no go, explain why and end the talk with a time in the future to revisit, like maybe when they’re a year or two older.
Can you help?I’ve been teaching school for almost 30 years. I’ve noticed over the past 10 or so that children coming into kindergarten and first and second grade are no longer excited about learning. It breaks my heart that they act like it’s a chore, not interested or simply bored to death. Why is this? Is it me, the educational system or that they learn too much too soon before teachers get them? What can be done?
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Jodie Lynn is an award-winning parenting columnist, author of five books and mother to three children. She and her family live in Wildwood.