One day closer to my hero being home…

Them’s the Rules: Fighting Fair

on September 10, 2012

I have an 11 year old daughter.  


She’s beautiful, talented, thoughtful, kind, sweet, silly….  She’s delightful.  She truly is a joy.

Except… She’s 11.  Almost 12.  And hormonal.  Moody.  It’s so much fun.


Anyway, we’ve been having issues with her having blow ups.  In them, she says whatever comes to her mind.  She stop to think about it, she doesn’t censor in any way, and she doesn’t care if it hurts.  She has told My Hero that he’s “ruining her life.” I think she had to do the dishes or something.  It scarred her forever.  Never mind the fact that she does them every. stinking. day.

After today’s… battle…  I began wondering what we could do to maybe help her at least consider thinking about her words before she speaks.  Then I remembered.  Nobody has taught her to fight fair.

Long before My Hero and I got married, we set down a set of rules for fighting.  We listened to others who were married, read books, and discussed at length the best way to fight.  We wanted to be sure that when we did, we would be fighting fair.  We wanted to protect our marriage even from ourselves.  So if we, as adults, needed to establish ground rules, why has it not occurred to me before today that my CHILDREN need to learn to fight fair????

Our rules:

  • No name calling
  • No “always” or “never” statements
  • No ultimatums
  • No threats
  • No yelling
  • No putting words in the other person’s mouth
  • No comparing to other people
  • Keep the fight on what it’s about – no dragging previous baggage in!
  • Never, ever, ever say the D-word

We’ve done a fairly decent job sticking to the rules.  A couple of them have been bent, but we’ve not broken them.  They’re sacred.  I believe that one of the reasons that we have such an amazing marriage is because of these rules.

So today, I sat my children down, and I talked about the importance of setting limits and establishing the rules before you are in a situation where you need them.  I told them that learning to fight fair was skill they’d use the rest of their lives.  They needed to decide that they needed to commit to following the rules no matter how angry they get.  Following the rules will help to protect their relationships.

So perhaps we’ve crossed some sort threshold.  Maybe now we can move on from crazy uncontrollable emotional outbursts to learning to reign it in.  I don’t expect it to happen overnight, but maybe now that they know there should be rules, they will at least make an attempt to follow them.

Or perhaps I’m delusional.


5 responses to “Them’s the Rules: Fighting Fair

  1. Judy Martin says:

    You are not delusional at all. What a good plan!! It will prepare them for life in the bigger world outside of you safe home walls. I taught my kiddos that they had to make decisions about a lot of things before they happened. Smoking. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. What they would participate in at parties and what they wouldn’t. Making decisions about your boundaries BEFORE you need to practice them is always good. Good for you for thinking ahead!!!
    I am praying for you, your Hero and the kids regularly. Judy Martin

  2. lovetopaint says:

    There was this really interesting article I read in my teaching program by Carol Gilligan and it has helped me a lot when it came to teaching middle school girls. She explained that what girls do in middle school (and now often in elementary school) is that they do just what you said–they say everything outloud. They test the waters to see what is acceptable and what’s not. What gets the reaction they want. They test the boundaries to see how far they can push. They’re essentially testing to see what’s appropriate to say and what’s not. I taught middle school and definitely saw this play itself out over and over. But, I think it goes for elementary girls too because of what they watch on television and then imitate.

    I’m glad you’re writing on your blog again 🙂

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