Tuesday, January 8, 2008


This is the inspiration for my latest parenting experiment. I don't know about you, but my kids physically and verbally abuse each other EVERY DAY. So I've instituted a new rule: Any time someone commits domestic misconduct of this nature, the offender must repent with a kiss. The number of kisses is in direct proportion to the number of offenses, so if the sibling resists the ante is upped accordingly.

It's working, kind of, I'm still giving it time to develop. But it has definitely made life more pleasant. I've made no headway imposing the traditional punishment of separations and time-outs. Listening to them recount how the other said something mean, pinched them in the arm, or stole a spot on the couch, often resulted in nothing more than me screaming my head off and reaching for a glass of wine. Lately, though, the tenor of these incidents has completely transformed. They know what's coming as soon as they commit the crime and before you know it we're all piled on one another in one jiggly, giggly blob. It morphs an unpleasant parenting moment into a revitalizing one.

I'm no expert, not even close, so please accept my experience with the little merit it deserves. But my kids are old enough, 11 and 7, to know what's right and wrong and to keep repeating the mantras, "Keep your hands to yourself," and "If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all," just seems ineffective, not to mention, mind-numbingly frustrating.

So if they're like most siblings and won't show the love until they're grown, far away from mommy's scrutinizing stares, then I say, "fake it, 'til you make it" is good enough for me!


Dawn said...

My husband's step-siblings are extremely close and really seem to genuinely like one another. I once asked my step-mother-in-law what the secret was and she said that any time they fought she made the offender look the other one in the eye, apologize, and then they had to hug.

It sounds like you're on the right track. Mine are still a little young (4 and 1), but so far they get along well and laugh together a lot. They give each lots of hugs and kisses so far. Hopefully, they'll remain close as the years progress.

I will definitely keep your technique in mind! Thanks for sharing it!

MAC said...

I like your unconventional approach, but I think this might be seen as a reward for my son who would like nothing better than to hug and kiss his sister! Keep us posted on how it works out. We can all use some fresh ideas.

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