Why do your kids argue?

Why do your kids argue and fight?  And does it matter?  On a recent road trip this hit me, and I wish it would have a long, long time ago.  

I think it does matter.  

The boys were in the back seat and after several hours in the car they were antsy and frustrated and their patience was beginning to wear thin.  There was a nudge, then a push, then a fist fight.  Their reaction to “his leg was touching me” was completely over the top.  But so was my reaction to their fight.  Because I had also spent several hours in the car and was antsy and frustrated and my patience was a bit threadbare too.

But I don’t think we’d categorize ourselves as “bad” parents because we get frustrated and fuss too loudly.  So why is it that when our kids flip out under the same circumstances they’re being “bad”?

I think we should do a better job of asking WHY our kids are fussing or fighting, rather than just punishing their behavior.

Because that behavior isn’t the issue, it’s just a symptom of what’s going on in their little heads and hearts.  Are they fighting with each other because they’re tired and hungry and just haven’t developed the self control that an adult has?  Or are they lashing out because they’re spoiled and selfish?

If it’s the former, I think some judicious coaching is probably the answer…along with some parental forethought to help keep that situation from arising.  If I’m getting hangry, I go get a snack.  If I’m tired and grumpy, I go take a nap.  But kids don’t always realize that they’re tired or hungry, they just know that everything in the world is awful and out to get them.  So wouldn’t a good parent realize what their kids can’t, and help to either fix that problem or head it off before it starts?

If it’s the latter and Little Timmy is being a butt just because it’s in his nature to be a butt to everyone around him, then yes…your kid is being “bad” and needs his course corrected.

Good parenting doesn’t look the same for every kid, and it doesn’t even always look the same every time a kid acts a certain way.  I wish I’d’ve really had this sink in when they were three, instead of thirteen.