Wednesday, January 25, 2006

And In This Corner...

My heart is still pounding. Not even five minutes ago, I broke up not one, but two knock down, drag out fights between my two youngest sons. They are 16 and 18 and trying to break up a fight between them is like trying to put out a forest fire with a squirt gun. And I’m afraid it is not over… I don’t believe for a moment that anything was settled. Although either of them would claim otherwise, there was no “winner.”

So what’s a father to do? I fear for their safety, as they are quite capable and probably willing to seriously hurt one another. They are kids. They do not consider the consequences of their actions. For now there is a tentative cease-fire; a precarious truce that may not hold without my intervention. I am now wearing the hat of the peacekeeper. However, at the moment, I am the only one who wants peace. The boys are in their neutral corners with fire in their eyes waiting for the bell to ring. My job? Keep that bell from ringing.

Sibling rivalry takes many forms. One thing they all have in common is the angst the parents surely must feel. I love my kids equally and unconditionally and despite recent events, I know they love each other too. They have shown it time and time again. I just wish they could remember some of those times as clearly as I do. It is also clear that the spark that touched all this off has little to nothing to do with the conflict. The pressure has been building for some time.

It is in this light that I can feel some sympathy and regret for the many similar affairs my own parents had to endure. My mother always used to say, “Wait till you have kids of your own.” Yet again, I understand although I am quite sure she has no desire for me to suffer through this as some form of karmic payback. It’s just part of the deal.


Keith said...

I absolutely empathize, Mike.

I am the father of two teens as well - but I have a 17 yr old daughter and a 14 yr old son (also an 8 yr old daughter).

Teens are such a trip. All those emotions and hormones swirling around in some sort of cosmic chaos. What's a dad to do??


Saur♥Kraut said...

Nothing like raging hormones. I strongly recommend family counseling for them. It may help if they have an objective stranger discussing it all with them.

Michael K. Althouse said...

Keith and Saur:
Thanks for you're empathy, concern and advice. All duly noted and appreciated.


Ellen said...

I thank my lucky stars that my son is close to moving out of his teen years, and will be 20 soon. As he is an only child, I never had to play mediator, but would find myself quoting what both your Mother (and mine) would say: "wait till you have kids!"
Everytime I would hear that I would think: "yeah, and I'll treat them better than you treat me!" Come to find out, I ended up just like her. It a curse that we pass down... just like they will when they have their own.
Good luck... it ain't easy being a parent of teenagers. If we thought we went through a lot of peer pressure then, our children are experiencing more than we ever had to be exposed to.

Michael K. Althouse said...

Ellen, Ya, they didn't come with an instruction manual!

Ellen said...

Mike- just a Spock book and a diaper bag, from what I can remember... no manual. (Which is probably a good thing when it comes to me.)

The Zombieslayer said...

Mike - If it makes you feel any better, the siblings that fight the most are the ones who get along the best later in life.

I used to pound my younger brother. If this new company gets funding, guess who I'm tapping to be VP of Financing?

it's not just me, but a lot of people I talk to.

War is a part of love. As much as it hurts, it's part of growing up.

Michael K. Althouse said...

zs: I am sure you're right, and like everything else, this too shall pass.


neal said...

I feel for you. That is one reason I feel lucky to have only one kid.