Parents, There Is Hope

My cubicle got a face lift today. It was painted fresh with a new color.

The painter is a nice guy, a grandpa with two grown up kids and two grandkids. I had a casual conversation with him, about kids.

I told him that my kids are getting on my nerves more than ever this year. They are 12 and 10 years old. They used to get along OK, they fought but not that much.

This year, things have changed for the worse. My son is getting very naughty. He likes to be sarcastic, say silly things to deliberately tease and annoy his sister, to make fun of her and provoke her. In his own word: "I like to torture her."

When I asked him, "Why do you do this to Amy? Do you behave like this with your friends?"

He said: "No, only with Amy, because we are family and she won’t mind."

My daughter is quick in response and action. When she gets annoyed and mad by Andy’s comments, which always happens, she reacts immediately and starts to chase him down and hit him. He let her hit, laughing or crying. 

I told Amy numerous times: "You do not need to react to his comments. The more you react, the more funny it is for him, and he will do more. If you ignore him, it won’t be fun for him and he will stop doing it." 

But my advise has fallen on deaf ears. 

Meanwhile, they are still fighting and chasing each other every day. 

It’s getting frustrating for me. 

Just last Sunday I told them when they were fighting in the car for no reason: "You guys provide the best entertainment. You don’t need TV or games at all. Just watching yourself fighting is more entertaining than anything on TV." Yelling won’t help. I tried to take it easy. 

Is this a teenage phenomenal? 

I asked the painter, "What about your kids?" His son and daughter are two years apart as well. 

He responded, "That happened to us. I remember a couple of times I had to pull the car over. I almost lost it. But don’t worry, there is hope. It will pass. When they get into high school, they will change. My kids are getting along just fine now." 

My brother witnessed my kids’ bad behaviour when we were in China recently. He said the same thing. "Don’t worry. They will stop fighting in a couple of years." 

I know I have hope. It’s just getting through it right now is not so fun and easy. 

Just like for my daughter, it’s hard not to react. 

I don’t remember ever fighting with my brother who is three years old than I. A few times my brother got into fights with boys in the neighborhood, and many times he got into trouble with our Dad who had a hot temper, but he never fought with me. We never fought for anything. We were pretty quiet kids. 

He told me recently: "I hit you twice when we were kids, because you cried and it annoyed me. I have regretted it ever since to this day." 

I would never know it had he not told me. 

Won’t it be nice if my kids were siblings like my brother and I?

One minute they were having fun playing together, laughing.


The next minute they were fighting like the worst enemies, punching and yelling at each other.

(Photos were taken 7/27/2010)