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Is It Always Mom's Job to Keep Everyone From Killing Each Other?


JumpyTheFrog
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I am frustrated that it seems to be my job to keep everyone in a good mood (or at least not in an awful mood) in our family. My oldest is a difficult child and is often in a bad mood. Tigger talks back, yells at me, and argues a lot and then DH (who works from home) gets mad at him. This is aside from Tigger and Little Guy squabbling or Little Guy misbehaving.

 

I'm not asking for advice about how to get Tigger to behave better. I'm just annoyed at always having to be the peacemaker, despite taking the brunt of everyone's bad mood. I feel like I'm the one doing most of the work to keep all the various relationships from being irreparably harmed. 

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We think it is. My husband has said, 'Not everything is your fault." Does anyone remember the sticom Rhoda?  Because she was born in 1942, she says at the opening of the show,  "I've always felt responsible for World War II."    That's pretty much it in a nutshell.

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I'm supposed to stop them?  I don't get involved in the relationship between my dh and my kids.  I figure that is up to them.  I do get involved at some point with squabbling between the kids - after they've had a chance to work it out.  Of course I'm involved in their interactions with me - though sometimes I want to walk away!  I think my kids are older than yours though?  

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I certainly don't attempt to make everyone happy. No one can make someone else happy. They have to choose for themselves.

 

Yeah, but what do you do if neither is willing to do anything about it?

 

One reason I couldn't wait to move out for college was to get away from the arguing between my mom and younger brother. They still have a damaged relationship all these years later. I can't stand to live with people who are mad at each other or otherwise in a bad mood much of the time.

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Yes, it took me a very long time to realize that the entire tone of my house is based on how I react to things, whether it's bickering between my kids, or between my dh and my kids, or even between me and any of them.  When someone's grumpy, they try to spread it around, me included.  It's bigger than that though.  Things can change literally in minutes if I don't have self-control, but knowing how to respond to smaller issues between people here can keep things much more low key.

 

I certainly haven't mastered it (never will), and as I said, it took me years to even realize it, and then see how the whole mood of the house can be changed.  I think it's kind of scary, actually--it's a lot of control and a lot of responsibility. But it makes life happier too.

 

 

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Yeah, but what do you do if neither is willing to do anything about it?

 

One reason I couldn't wait to move out for college was to get away from the arguing between my mom and younger brother. They still have a damaged relationship all these years later. I can't stand to live with people who are mad at each other or otherwise in a bad mood much of the time.

 

Well, that would be an argument for doing something to help DS's behavior improve (even though I realize you said you are not seeking advice on that). I wouldn't want to listen to excessive arguing, either, nor people yelling at each other often.

 

My kids are certainly welcome to be in bad moods. I will even provide Sulking Snacks and a Shoulder To Cry On, as needed.

 

But I will NOT allow them to yell at me. There are consequences for that. Every. Time.

 

So, I'm not advising you to try to help anyone with their behavior, but what alternatives to that are you contemplating?

 

The only one that comes readily to mind is boarding school.

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Yeah, but what do you do if neither is willing to do anything about it?

 

One reason I couldn't wait to move out for college was to get away from the arguing between my mom and younger brother. They still have a damaged relationship all these years later. I can't stand to live with people who are mad at each other or otherwise in a bad mood much of the time.

Separate them. 

If you can't be nice, you need to be alone. That goes for adults, too. I spent the entire day by myself yesterday. I was crabby. Everyone understood.

 

If it's an ongoing problem, then I will have a serious discussion with the offender. We will attempt to get to the root and find a better way to deal with each other. 

 

No one has to be friends and no one has to like each other. But everyone MUST be kind.

 

I have never yet had a situation that couldn't be remedied with a little compassion and understanding. Little brothers Aren't trying to be annoying. They just want to play with the big kids. Older boys Aren't trying to exclude little ones. Their toys just aren't safe. 

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Yeah, but what do you do if neither is willing to do anything about it?

 

At our place growing up, adults could do as they liked but if kids were bickering they had the choice between stopping or going outside to finish it. Bad luck if it was cold or wet.

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Yes, it took me a very long time to realize that the entire tone of my house is based on how I react to things, whether it's bickering between my kids, or between my dh and my kids, or even between me and any of them. When someone's grumpy, they try to spread it around, me included. It's bigger than that though. Things can change literally in minutes if I don't have self-control, but knowing how to respond to smaller issues between people here can keep things much more low key.

 

I certainly haven't mastered it (never will), and as I said, it took me years to even realize it, and then see how the whole mood of the house can be changed. I think it's kind of scary, actually--it's a lot of control and a lot of responsibility. But it makes life happier too.

This. Whether I want the job, or not, it seems to be mine. Some days I REALLY suck at my "job".

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One reason I couldn't wait to move out for college was to get away from the arguing between my mom and younger brother. They still have a damaged relationship all these years later. I can't stand to live with people who are mad at each other or otherwise in a bad mood much of the time.

 

Have you told your dh this and explained that this is why you need his help in keeping the peace?

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I often use the same method that I use on the cats.  I squirt them with the water bottle when the kids are arguing with each other.  It seems to help. 

 

We've tried the whole tell your sister something nice about her and that didn't work at all.  I am thinking of using the method that they use in the Korean dramas for disciplining where they make them hold their arms straight up in the air for a period of time.  But I haven't tried it yet. 

 

But yes, it seems to be my job, as well.

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Nope, not mom's job. Every person (over the age of 3-4 or so) is responsible for himself.

 

At our house, mom's job is to (try to) keep the common areas of the house peaceful; if you want to bicker, please just step out of earshot of the non-bickerers, because it is distressing and rude to those who have to listen. If 2 kids are just tangling all day, they sit together in the same room in different chairs until BOTH kids are happy and willing to re-join society. Want to have a foul mood all on your own? Finish up your chores, and go sit on your bed and pout away.

 

Now, out of love for Small Bickering People, mom CAN make it fun / easy / attractive to choose peace, but - each person has to make that choice for himself, sooner or later. Better sooner, if at all possible.

 

(((hugs))) to you. I am *extremely* sensitive to bickering / bad attitudes myself; I understand the distress.

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