Parents… Let ’em Work, Let ’em Live

A few years ago – gosh, maybe 12-15 years ago, Amy and I were in the car together and saw one of those signs that remind drivers to not mow down anyone in an orange hard-hat working on the road.


It made us laugh… it just seemed like a funny thing to put on a sign, and ever since, we’ve gleefully applied that phrase to many circumstances for which it was never intended.

Now, this past weekend my two boys were in their room, whining and carrying on about who hit who and who copied who, and I had listened to that ruckus long enough.  Amy and I had been trying to have a conversation in the kitchen (adult conversations these days are an endangered species), and I made a move to go in there when Amy stopped me.  She said, “Just give them a few more minutes.”

And wouldn’t you know it, not five minutes later, it was calm.  Instead of whining, they were playing. I didn’t even go in to peek at them for fear of busting the mojo.

Usually, we’re pretty consistent with getting them to work out the little bickerings they bring to us.  One of the first things we’ll ask if one of the kids comes to us with a complaint about a sibling is, did you talk to him/her about it?  This drives them crazy, but it is a win-win for the parents. The kids get to work on conflict resolution, and we don’t have to deal with it!

When I noticed the boys had quieted down, I thanked Amy and was glad for the reminder.  Sometimes you’ve just got to let ’em work, let ’em live.  I guess… unless you can tell they really are about to kill each other.

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