Picking Battles With Your Kids

Posted on June 29, 2011 by


Maggie May’s guest post reminds me of all the fights I’ve had with my kids based on principle. There is such a thing as an on principle argument and once you’ve pressed that button and once you’ve made your on principle point, it’s very tough going back. I said you can’t take those earrings off. Why? Because we spent money on them. You wanted to buy them. You wear them.

Like last night with my kid. I said you have five minutes outside to play basketball, and now it’s been five minutes, and those five minutes are up. “One more minute, Mom? I had that shot and then the ball rolled and then I cut my finger…” Fireflies lit up the night as my son negotiated one more minute of basketball. But there were no more minutes. I had 16 one more minutes yesterday and he was out of one more minutes. A bananas-level tantrum ensued.

I’ve read books like “The Explosive Child” where author Ross W. Greene  instructs you pick your battles. What if your battle is an on principle battle? What if you’ve had enough negotiations? Isn’t so much of child rearing this way — at least the good kind? My father never picked battles with me! If I wasn’t outside of someone’s house when he came to pick me up–poof, he was gone. That was it. You didn’t negotiate. You just did what you were told or you and your skinny ass hoofed it home. But that kind of parenting is militant and isolating. It taught me to obey, but not necessarily to respect.

So I’m picking battles. And neighbors of my community, if you hear me during one of these battles, please know I’m doing it with purpose.