independent

Thursday 30 October 2014

A family summit has set some ground rules for child behaviour, but did it work?

Published 03/09/2013 | 07:53

The last few weeks of the summer holidays are always the worst for parents. Kids have exhausted all avenues of entertainment by then and are bored.

They follow you around with plaintive tales of having nothing to do, whilst you're running around like a blue arsed fly trying to get their uniforms and school books together and telling them they don't know how bloody lucky they are. Some things never change!

I always start the summer holidays full of enthusiasm. Two full months with no early starts, no washing and ironing uniforms, no making lunch boxes (for some strange reason it's the lunch boxes I hate the most) or cleaning out the bottoms of school bags where you'll find mouldy sandwiches and black banana skins lurking beneath the copies.

By the end of the summer I'm almost tempted to go out on the street and beg any random stranger with a nice face, to just take my kids. The only thing that stops me is knowing they'd hand them back five minutes later!

My offspring who are no angels at the best of times, turned into absolute monsters by the middle of August. Their usual low tolerance level for each other had hit rock bottom and they couldn't sit in the same room for five minutes without skin and hair flying.

They made a holy show of me in Dunnes the other day, resulting in me making a holy show of myself and screaming at them, 'right YOU over there! And YOU over there! Don't even LOOK at each other' The girl on the check out smiled indulgently and said, 'it's that time of year isn't it?'

It all came to a head last weekend when the Eldest threw the youngest off the top of a bouncy castle head first after she hid his Nintendo. Himself went ballistic. Now when I shout they pay no attention whatsoever. They don't even bat an eyelid. When Himself shouts, which to be fair isn't as often as me, they sit up and listen.

He called them in to the living room the other night and informed them we were having a family meeting to discuss their atrocious behaviour. Himself, who obviously decided to fashion his new parental persona on Pol Pot, then proceeded to compile a list of rules for his new regime. I suggested things like the kids not killing each other and maybe putting their clothes in the washing basket on the odd occasion, but Himself had other ideas.

His rules ran from making their beds and emptying the dishwasher, to emptying the bins, cleaning the bathroom and hoovering. 'This is slave labour,' moaned the eldest. I had to agree with him. Himself seemed to have confused having children with having a maid.....or even a wife!

'Do you not think you're going over the top a bit?' I ventured. He scowled at me and said it was exactly this kind of soft attitude that had gotten us in this mess in the first place. 'They won't stick to all those rules,' I warned. 'I give it two days.'

True to form the bedmaking lasted one day, the dishwasher was emptied twice, neither of them would go near the bins on the grounds of health and safety and they don't even know what the hoover looks like.

There are some battles you can never win!

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