Silly Ways to Stop the Bickering

 
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Onalee again, ready to share how I use humor to put a stop to the endless bickering during our homeschool day! It’s not perfect, but it sure beats anger!

Are you in a low, or a tough spot in your homeschooling world? Do you find yourself asking your child the same mundane questions over and over again without any results?  Are you listening to an argument over who looked at whom, or something similarly small and asking why are we arguing over this again? Do you wonder if there could be a way out of this conversational rut?  Everyone gets here at one time or another. It is natural, and there is a way out! Read on for a few quick ideas!

When we (yes, sometimes I engage) get into an argument that makes me go “really?” I find that a quick bit of random can really break things up and change the mood for ALL age groups.  Here is how I do it, but please feel free to add your own twist. As soon as I recognize that we are in a “really?” kind of argument anywhere in the house, I will move close to the offenders, wait for a quick pause and yell something really random like “Look!  Purple elephant!” while pointing in a random direction. Then, I quietly wait. The more confused they look, the better. The confusion means their brain just broke out of the current thought path, and is trying hard to process and jump to where you just took them.  Sometimes, if they try to move back into that path of comfort (aka the argument), I will repeat the process with an awesome Scottish accent and a new phrase. The accented phrase will usually break their brains away from the argument, and into my new world of imagination fun!  Pretty soon, we are all imagining wildly colored animals around us.

Some days, and you will intuitively know this too, I know random will not work with my kids.  They are in it to win it. They can be in the grumpy, or argumentative mindset, and it is not looking like we are going to break free any time soon.  This is when I pull out a random accent and begin speaking in that accent. I try to make it my worst accent to add a little humor to the situation. If you feel uncomfortable doing this, you can try a new game we discovered called Utter Nonsense.  The premise is you say a random phrase in a silly accent. This is a great way to bring about humor and break up the mood.

In the moment, if my children are arguing and there is no end to the madness, I will provide them with a warning.  Please be careful with your words, or I will be going to opera mode. Just saying this will elicit a complete mindset and mood change, like a magic pill!  It has taken years of practice and consistent implementation, though. I give three warnings. Period. Then I sing, as if I am the star of an opera, that I am now in opera mode, and I need them to stop arguing with me to make it stop.  I pour on the dramatic too, because - opera! I once spent two hours in this mode - once. Most of the time, this ends with the desired result quickly, as I sing everything and about everything until they have met the requirements of my stopping.  WARNING: This is a technique I reserve for when my children are engaged in an endless argument with myself or each other and my feathers are beginning to ruffle. This will prevent me from lashing out, and it helps them to see that sometimes humor is better than arguing or endless grumping.

I firmly believe that laughter is the best medicine.  If we can apply it as much as possible to our day, especially when things do not look like they could or should be funny, our days will be lighter, and the tasks at hand much more manageable.  Also, when we are laughing, we are creating a strong emotional tie to the knowledge we are gaining. In these moments of giggles and mindset shifts, we can gift coping skills that will help our children become very successful in any world they go on to conquer!