Friday, July 10, 2015

Yes I Tied My Kids Together

This summer has been wonderful. And awful. And fun. And stressful. And hilarious. And trying.

I love staying home in the summers with my kids, but let's be honest, it is hard. Sometimes I wish that when my alarm goes off in the morning it is my turn to get up and get ready to leave for work, and not my husband's.

My kids are great ages for playing together and they are getting better at entertaining each other, but there is one thing that I am just totally and completely sick of.

I cannot handle the fighting and bickering anymore.

I literally want to pull my hair out some days. And I have seriously contemplated locking them all in the basement for a day and just letting them go at it for a little survival of the fittest competition. May the best child win, right?

Seriously though. The hitting, pinching and punching from my 5-year-old daughter. The yelling for attention every time my 3-year-old son wants to say something. The selective listening I constantly get from my 7 year old. It takes everything in me some days not to mirror back to them the same immature, selfish behavior they reflect to me countless times a day.

I have tried yelling a lot. I have tried spanking them but most of the time they laugh afterward and I feel guilty for doing it. I have tried taking away iPads and although that does turn them into much better people overall while they are going through a day or two with no electronics, they turn back into monsters pretty quickly when their electronics are returned (I guess Pavlov's theory doesn't apply to iPad use). I've tried time outs, empty ultimatums, "Wait until dad finds out"s, "This is the last straw"s, early bedtime, taking away favorite toys, and every other commonplace discipline practice.

Recently though I have had one successful attempt at controlling the insanity.

It isn't a unique idea, but it is one that I hadn't actually ever tried. The other day when my two oldest children were on their innumerable fight of the day, a brilliant thought crossed my mind. I should make them sit by each other in the same t-shirt until they can go an hour without fighting. I was folding laundry when the "This is the last straw" argument happened. I was holding my husbands t-shirt in my hand and irrationally considered running over to them and aggressively pulling it over both of their heads. After a moment I realized that it would likely ruin my husbands shirt and probably cause another argument with him.

Then I remembered the flag football belts in the garage.

I retrieved one, made my kids stand up, and explained that they would be wearing this belt together until they could go one hour without fighting. They started laughing and commenting on how much fun it was going to be.

And it was.

For about ten minutes.

The timer was started over several times as arguments and fights ensued, but after being tied together for nearly 2 1/2 hours, they stopped fighting. And for the rest of the day if one of them started bickering, I would hear the other say "Stop it, we don't want tied together again!"

It has been several weeks since the last time they were tied together but they still bring it up once in awhile when one starts fighting with the other. I do get the feeling that another round will be coming soon though, as the effects of being tied to a sibling is starting to wear off some.

Overall, I'd have to say that this is one of the best forms of torture discipline that I've tried.

Now if I could just figure out how to get them to clean the house for me...

All tied up.