A household held hostage by hormones

I CAN always tell when my kids are up and out of bed. That's when the fighting starts. I also know when they've brushed their teeth and gone to bed. That's when the fighting stops.

Now that my kids are both teenagers our household is being held hostage by hormones. For the past few months it's been just one big sledging match. And it takes nothing to get things started, one of them just has to look at the other sideways and it's game on.

It hasn't always been like this. As toddlers they would play nice. Oh sure, they would also whack each other over the head occasionally with a plastic spade while hanging out in the sand pit but, apart from a few tears, a few deliberately buried toys and a bit of face-shoving into the sand, it was pretty easy going.

When they progressed to primary school there were some "sharing issues" and a visit to the casualty department because of an argument centred around us owning only one "good scooter" and the other one being a "piece of crap" but it was small stuff, nothing a kiss, a few stitches or a good telling off couldn't fix.

Looking back, the golden time of their brother-sister relationship was when my eldest had just started high school and my youngest was still at primary school. For a while they moved in different worlds and drifted apart. They even forgot they were living in the same house and went days without speaking to each other. Ah yes, the good old days.

Well lately the teasing and taunting have reached biblical proportions. And it doesn't matter at what point of the proceedings I snap and intervene, the response is always the same: "She started it" followed by "No I didn't he did - he hit me." "She hit me first." "I wish you were dead." "I wish you were dead." After a few rounds of this I usually wish I was dead. Then comes the stare down, the challenge for me to take a side.

Well I'm not falling for that anymore. Sure, in my early days of parenting I would try to negotiate a truce. That was before I worked out my youngest can produce tears on demand like a Hollywood actress, my eldest drives the guilt bus with lines like: "You-don't-love-me-as-much as her" and both of them can lie like rugs.

Nope. Not falling for that anymore. I don't care who started it and I don't care who got slapped, I just want it to stop. And I want hubby to be the one to put a stop to it. So last weekend when the kids almost killed each other, instead of screaming at them I screamed at him.

Hubby handles things in his own laid back way. From the couch. Later that day it was his chance to shine when the kids were screaming at each other, objects were airborne and the smell of fresh blood was in the air. His answer to the anarchy was yelling out: "Don't make me come down there." Please. Even the dog didn't flinch. It's a given, there's no chance of hubby getting off the couch on a Sunday afternoon if there's a game on. And there's always a game on.

Suddenly it went quiet. "See I told you I'd handle it," he said with a satisfied smile. Amateur. When it goes quiet every mother knows it's time to check the sandpit. That's where they bury the bodies.

Topics:  family taming opinion teenagers wendy's world

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