I grew up fighting with my siblings, especially the brother closest in age to me: hair pulling, karate fighting, wrestling and the usual shoving and fighting. I won’t mention the time I threw a high heel at him and cracked his head open (I think I was 9 and he 8, he still has a scar) or the time I hit my sister over the head with a very thick book in the library, I managed to make a poor elderly man standing nearby jump from the “bang!”.
So how I thought I could raise my kids not to fight, I have no idea. I don’t mind them play wrestling or pretending to karate fight each other. But my older three, especially both the boys can drive me slightly mad with their squabbling, arguing and occasionally getting physical with each other. I can live with that and I can do the usual routine of time outs, reasoning, sending to different rooms, occasionally shouting over them and even telling them to go away and argue somewhere else.
What I really can’t stand is when we are at someone else’s home or have guests or are out together and they start fighting:
“I had the remote first”
“He stepped on the back of my shoes”
“I wanted to sit there”
“He burped at me” (oh. my. days.)
They completely forget where they are, or who else is there. They are not shy or embarrassed at all. Sometimes I just despair thinking my kids are mini barbarians and everyone else’s seem to sit there quietly. I know that’s not true, but everyone elses kids seem to have enough sense to fight when everyone is not watching them at least.
That was until a few weeks ago I went into my local supermarket and saw a sister wearing niqab (the face veil) with her three early teen boys. Of course I am as susceptible to stereotypes as anyone else and I have an image in my mind of sisters who wear niqab being better Muslimah’s than myself. With this goes a belief that they must be amazing mothers and must be raising their children as exemplary Muslims. I know it might not necessary be true and that these sisters are just human like the rest of us, but the stereotype is there.
This sister turned around to tell her boys to behave and stop squabbling. She then turned the corner and went around the aisle. The next thing I saw was them karate kicking each other by the chcoclate digestives. I was a bit incredulous, I thought my boys were the only one who did that randomly in the shopping mall or supermarket. I have to say it got me thinking, if this sisters kids did it, maybe I’m not doing such a terrible job after all. Although I hope mine are not still doing it when they are teenagers.
So Lesson No.1 in the Good Parenting Guide: let your kids wallop each other in the supermarket, it makes me feel better.
I’m going to have so much fun writing this series insh’Allah J