I always feel sorry for world leaders busy dealing with fights between nations. When my three children were young, most days it was hard keeping my house from becoming a battlefield.
It got worse as they grew older. Three years ago, Zack, then 16, couldn't make it through a day without making his sisters, Alex 11 and Taryn 9, angry.
My husband and I tried to be understanding the boy at such an age. We reasoned, punished, and left heartfelt notes on his bed about how he was hurting our family. His answer was "I say it because it's true." I even tried telling the girls to fight back. Bad idea. Now I had three children at war. Whatever I said to them, they paid no attention. When there was no way out, I told everything to my sister in an e-mail. She replied," Don't e-mail me. E-mail him." Our son was online every day, mailing and talking with his friends. Maybe he would actually hear me this way. I didn't say anything different, but e-mail just took the tension away. There'd be no shouting or door banging. Zack wouldn't feel under attack.
Zack didn't reply for days. When he finally did, his entire message was four small words. I smiled when I read them, "You're right. I'm sorry." The children still fought, of course, but Zack changed. Best of all, I now have a better way to talk with not one but three of them, I like it that they don't tune me out as much as they used to.
They like not having to listen to me shouting to them. Or as Alex says, "You're so much nicer online." All I know is that the house is quiet. But we're talking.