My kids have been fighting like fiends lately. It’s becoming unbearable. Most of the time I try not to get involved, believing some advice I read somewhere about letting them work things out on their own. At my less self-actualized moments, I throw my arms up in despair and ponder why I ever thought that having two children would improve the overall quality of our lives. And on a really bad day, I try to yell down the louder of the two kids. “STOP SCREAMING!” I shriek, never missing for one moment the irony of my poor parenting practice.
But today, I actually had a break thru. The hysteria had climbed to near violence level. I knew I had to insert myself into the fray. Turns out it was all about which pretend game to play. Levi, my 9-year-old, wanted to play Harry Potter. He was all set, wand in hand, ready to cast the first charm. Eli, my six-year-old on the other hand, lightsaber pointed, was prepared to do battle against the Grand Army of cloned human warriors. My intervention seemed about as hopeless as an Palestinian-Israeli conflict resolution.
But I did not despair. Instead, I simply said, “I wonder what would happen if Luke Skywalker met Harry Potter. I mean, do you think they’d be friends? Maybe together they could save the universe.” Then, as swiftly as I appeared, I stealthfully faded back into my office.
After about five minutes of no yelling, crying or hyper-ventilating, I popped my head into the living room to confirm that both children were still alive and well. To my amazement, I saw an astonishing sight. Luke Skywalker, lightsaber aglow, was battling the one who must not be named. Then, in a flash, Professor Dumbledore appeared in deep collusion with a green faced, cloth caped, Yoda. It worked! My kids had merged their two obsessions and were playing heartily.
They continued to play (and I’m not exagerating) for at least two more hours without a single moment of conflict (well, not counting the near destruction of the Galactic Empire.) There was one tense moment when my 6 year old declared that the Immobulus spell his brother kept casting upon him was not really fair because he was constantly being rendered immobile. I had to rule, as the Supreme leader of the Republic, that the Immobulus spell could only be used once an hour. After that, the boys played on happily.
Sometimes I wonder why I don’t always opt for using my creativity when dealing with my children’s issues. It seems so much easier. Everyone’s happy. I’m no longer stressed. And the universe is being saved from the dark side. Come on, what could be better than that?
Isn’t it amazing when we, as parents, have those lightbulb moments that squelch the “huge” problems encountered by our children with such ease.
Would be nice if were always that way, but life isn’t perfect, nor would we want it to be. Could be pretty dull that way.
Hi Debra. I really like this post. I can very well relate to you because I also have two sons, same age (9 and 6). And it’s beyond frustrating sometimes when I see them fight. I think how you dealt with it this time is great. I will keep that lesson handy. Thanks!
Nice post. I also often forget my creativity when splitting up the battles.
I was the only girl, and the oldest of three, growing up. My brothers and I rarely fought, so I was totally unprepared for the amount of screaming that goes on at my house (some of it comes from the children.) I have two girls, 12 and 8, and really struggle to help them be better friends. Thank you for the inspiration – I’ll be working harder on that!