Sometimes at night, I’ll hear the girls in another room, chattering. If I pass by, I might hear them dispensing advice or sayin something sweet. These are private moments. It’s the kind of thing that makes parents smile and think awww.

I’m not supposed to know anything about this super secret sibling stuff.

In front of me, it’s competition and irritation.

They get along better than the older two did, but there’s still plenty of conflict. The things siblings say to one another during a fight? I have never said anything like that to anyone in my whole life, and I’m not exactly known for bein nice.

I want them to solve their own problems, so early on I told them, “Work it out!”

Also, I want peace and quiet.

I’ve tried to explain how very fortunate they are, how siblings are wonderful, how God has given them one another, how amazing this relationship is.

Much like I do with any child having the audacity to claim boredom, if they bicker too much, I give them chores to do. Chores are the ultimate weapon in my parenting arsenal. Attitude adjustments, I call them.
“Oh you think your sister should choke on her emo music and die? Well then, while she’s doin that, you can pick up all the sticks in the front yard.”
“Perhaps you’ll find the will to apologize in the odd sock basket.”
“This topic would be better discussed while y’all clean baseboards, wouldn’t it?”

This has proven effective. Now, I see only the beginning of fights. I’m sure there are whispered tussles in the back of the car, silent feuds in public, and rage when no one else is around — I dunno, a few times, I’ve come home to a house empty of words and full of bad juju.


i love this guy’s comic. he gets me.

“Are you fighting? You’re not fighting are you?”
“No no, we’re not fighting,” they say, and then they share a hostile fake hug for my benefit.

Recently, this happened:

“Hey. Hey! Are you fighting?”
“We’re argumenting. If you think this is how we fight, then you haven’t seen us fight. It isn’t like this.”
“Right? It’s basically me screaming at Moo, eyes full of angry tears, while she sits there with her clenched jaw and dead eyes.”
“Oh, so like Daddy and me.”

I had a lil chuckle, cause it’s like sometimes The Mister and I don’t even recognizeΒ how very fortunate we are, how God has given us one another, how amazing and wonderful this relationship is.

Hmm, maybe peace really does begin with me.

Wishing you all a peaceful day.

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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57 Responses to Argumenting

  1. markbialczak says:

    You have a wonderful life, Joey. And you know it. Have a great week, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. loisajay says:

    Aw, this was great, Joey. Peaceful Monday to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. atticsister says:

    Brings back memories of my mom. She LOVED doling out chores for sibling issues and with 3 sisters and one brother, there were plenty of sibling issues. Mom’s favorite chore? Scrub the floor on your hands and knees….that way you had time to pray for forgiveness while you were already on your knees. I still pray whenever scrubbing the floors; guess I just got in the habit of connecting the two activities.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dan Antion says:

    Realizing that you have been blessed is so important. I really like: “they share a hostile fake hug for my benefit” – reminds me of those “shake and make up” forced handshakes my father made my brother and me share. Our daughter has a limited definition of fighting. My wife and I would disagree, argue, get angry, but we rarely fought. We did give the “this isn’t fighting…” response to her when she would ask us to stop arguing. Then she turned into the teen years and…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. orbthefirst says:

    “TAKE IT OUTSIDE!” was pretty much my mas mantra as me & my brother were growing up. Fun though. And we loved each other, as siblings do. He was the stubborn one, you know. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Chores to end an argument ??? Brilliant strategy, Joey. I didn’t need one…was happy that my two were each other’s best support system. That was a huge blessing to me, coming from a family of siblings that came in batches of 2’s, who never, ever got along with the one sibling closest to each of the pair. Ugh. Those feelings…carried into adulthood, still.

    My parents never intervened, seemingly didn’t know how bad it was. If we had been forced to clean floorboards, lawnwork ??? I wonder…

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Interesting. Since I have two sets of kids, I can see that. Although, the latter set seems more promising these days. Of course, we all wish things were different… Someday we’ll talk about these things over wine.
      You sure had it good with your kids so supportive of one another. ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. V.J. Knutson says:

    Made me laugh – I am one of six and there was always commotion. I used the chore tactic with my three, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lovely. ❀

    Just this, peace has began with your mother already. πŸ™‚ And hers. And hers. Every time when I think how way back we go, it's amazing what survives.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I dunno if it’s age or what, but I don’t remember arguing with my siblings. I know it happened, I just don’t remember it.

    I’m still trying to master the fine art of “argumenting.”

    As you alluded, it takes two to have a relationship. Arguments don’t spontaneously erupt with only one person in the room. That’s a lesson that I keep learning.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. marianallen says:

    “Argumenting.” I love it! πŸ˜€ My favorite fight was when one of the girls shouted, “I don’t like you anymore,” the other one shouted, “I never DID like YOU,” and they both burst out laughing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. scr4pl80 says:

    OMG you give out chores??? Where was that sage advice when mine were young and fought??? I just made them go to their rooms. Almost makes me want to start over…HAHAHAHAHA!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. After a certain point I learned that “She started it!” and “I was here first!” led to conflicts of Middle Eastern proportions, and were not intended as negotiating starting points. Ie, they like to fight with each other. I also learned to say, “You’re both wrong,” and walk away.

    Short of actual bloodshed, of course.

    Possibly they needed for me NOT to take a stand in favor of one or the other. Without my complicit interference, they gave up far more quickly.

    For toys, I simply got out the 5 min. timer, and prepared to be timekeeper. It rarely lasted more than an exchange or two of the contested toy.

    Two bad we can’t take turns with Jerusalem.

    I DO like your system; wish I’d thought of it when they were still under our roof. They get along marvelously now, so maybe it worked. I tell each child he or she is my favorite child – all the time. They all know.


  13. Ally Bean says:

    My mother didn’t tolerate “bored” either. I learned early on to entertain myself or end up cleaning something. Still kind of holds true today. I started a blog to escape boredom, and because of the blog I don’t clean house as often as I might otherwise. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Carrie Rubin says:

    Funny you should mention cleaning baseboards. When college son is home for winter break and high school son is done with classes, they’re both going to find out that cleaning baseboards is on their holiday to-do list. They’ll be thrilled.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. JT Twissel says:

    What a lovely post! I love the cartoon – so true of squabbling siblings who actually love each other. Have a week full of both joy and peace…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Our girls get along really well now, but they had some times when things didn’t go so well. When they argued, I often had them sit at the top of the stairs, where they divided, one on each side, until they started getting along. They still remember that. πŸ™‚

    Peace and love.


    Liked by 1 person

  17. Benson says:

    Thank you, you too.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Erika says:

    Dead eyed, lol.

    When I was younger, one thing I used to hate more than anything was being told “That’s the only sister you’ll ever have” when we’d be arguing. And now I say that on a daily basis when I hear things like “Little brat” muttered under LM’s breath or “I gonna throw you out the window!” from BG.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. pluviolover says:

    Now in their 40s or late 30s, my wife loves to tell the stories of my yelling to the three-pronged battle happening in the back seat of the station wagon, “Don’t you three make me pull this car over. There’ll be hell to pay.” How any of us survived all of that is a credit to the power of human endurance.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. April says:

    Damn! I wish I would have thought of the chore thing. I made them work it out without beating each other, but they had to listen to each other, if they couldn’t do that then they could spend time alone in their rooms. Then I would prepare the mom lecture complete with tears, saying that they are the only people who will have their backs throughout their lives. Not too sure if it helped. Today, the older two who are closer in age are pretty good friends. The youngest is kind of out there on his own. The older two were academics, the younger a social butterfly interested in sports. They find it hard to find common ground. I’m looking forward to seeing if they can find the common ground.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Well, mine aren’t even all grown yet, but I am still holding on to hope. It’s hard to tell. Right now, it’s kind of 3 against 1, but what can I say? No one wants to be involved in the way eldest daughter is living her life. Time will tell, and I hold hope.
      When my father passed, I longed for a sibling in a way I had never felt before.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. If my two got into it so bad that I got involved or they involved me in their fights it was THE HEARTH! Oh, how they learned to hate the hearth. It makes them break out in cold sweats. πŸ™‚

    They had to sit on the hearth right next to each other with some body part had to be touching each other. That was usually the little toe, or shoe. They had to sit there like that until they worked it out. Then when they worked it out they had to apologize to each other and hug.

    We’ve always told them how lucky they are to have each other too.

    Chores would have been effective if I had ever thought of that! What a dunce…it would have lightened my load too. pfffft!

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Mmm — the hearth! Lots of imagery and symbolism there. I likey. That’s sweet.
      I actually learned to do the chore thing from a book when I was young. There was a woman who ran a foster home and lots of kids came to her angry — she’d have em polish silver, chop wood, scour pots when they were sassy. I thought it was brilliant, so I used it in my classroom. The thing is, after a while, most kids/tweens WANTED to help in the classroom. So I used it with my own babies πŸ™‚


  22. Chores! Now there’s an idea that I may need to employ. Actually the bickering has substantially dropped this year. Probably because they all run in 100 different directions.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. JoAnna says:

    I’ve never liked argumenting. But having a sense of humor about it does help. I love yours… sense of humor that is. Maybe I’ll jump into some chores next time I get irritable.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Good parenting. πŸ™‚ If only they knew how much ‘only’ children wished they had a sibling, and I’m speaking from experience. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  25. This is lovely, Joey. Peace to you as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. prior.. says:

    such a wonderful post – read it twice to soak up the different parts – and still laughing at the comic – “only if it ends with one or both of us crying…” bah


  27. Laura says:

    BLESS. Our baseboards haven’t been cleaned in a quite a while… πŸ˜‰


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