lately, our older two kids have really been trying us. the defiance, the sassing, the arguing, the back-talking, the fighting between each other, the general malaise has been threatening to destroy our sanity and testing every ounce of patience (and lots of impatience) we have (or don't have).
i can't figure out what to do, honestly. it's a problem we have seen developing for the last couple of years. our older two kids are only 16 months apart, and they are in constant competition. they almost never have moments of loving kindness. mostly, aedan spends his time bothering gillian (which he can do by his mere presence), and gillian spends her time bossing aedan around and generally just being angry at him.
i thought at first maybe they were just jealous of each other related to how much time we spend (or don't spend) with them. but then i started thinking that isn't it. somehow, i think it's that their personalities are so radically opposite that they just have a hard time coexisting within the same family.
the tough thing is, we are stuck together. :) they don't have an option of choosing a different family (although there are days...), so i have resorted to trying to come up with solutions to the fighting. i have tried grounding, where they come home after school and have to spend the afternoon in bed, doing nothing, until dad gets home. i have tried taking things (and privileges) away. i have tried spanking (for those of you who are horrified at that idea, just know that most of the time the kids laugh at me because they think me spanking them is funny--obviously they are not in pain...). i have tried lecturing. i have tried explaining calmly. i have tried giving them reward incentives (everything from going to busch gardens to money to food to dates with dad and me).
nothing--N.O.T.H.I.N.G.--is working. so what am i doing? resorting to making a rag rug.
i know, not what you expected, right? i am literally on the brink of personal disaster. luckily, my sister is coming to visit in a few weeks, and we are going to the beach, just the two of us, for a mommy holiday for three whole days!! until then, though, i will be here, crocheting, hoping to release a little of the stress.