The list below is certainly not exhaustive – there are hundreds of things kids argue about. The chances are it’s probably something your grandparents fought about with their siblings all those years ago. It might be interesting to find out what the major points of contention were back then in a rare moment when you are not breaking up the squabbles on the home front.
What kids argue about is usually something from the list below. If it isn’t let us know the most bizarre things your kids have arguments about!
- Who gets to sit in the front seat of the car on the way to school – or anywhere when a front seat is available. Arrangements like taking turns on alternate days will be thrown by public holidays, one child’s absence from school due to illness, or grandma coming along on a trip. Then it will be a free-for-all until an adult steps in to declare the lucky recipient of the front seat. This will inevitably result in the “other” having: a) a tantrum, b) sulking, c) reaching forward and pinching or pulling the hair the occupant of the front seat when you aren’t looking. This will result in wails and attempts at retaliation while back seat occupant feigns complete shock at overly aggressive behavior. You will usually stop the car and banish front seat occupant to the back seat. Original back seat occupant will be all smiles. The reasoning: If I can’t have it no one gets it.
- Who got a bigger birthday present. Beware, size does count here. Value is way down on the list; so if they are under five a big plastic dump truck will trump a more expensive remote control car and this goes all the way up to teens. “He got a surfboard, I got clothes.” The surfboard is bigger so it must be more expensive – right?
- Who has played with the kitten/puppy/rabbit for, “too long.” “And now it’s my turn but he/she won’t give it to me.”
- Who scribbled on the other child’s artwork first. “She started it.” “No he touched mine first.”
- Who gets to watch their favorite TV program first.
- Who didn’t pack away the toys – “I did my share,” and “She/he didn’t do anything.” And this from both parties, in unison, when confronted by an angry parent.
- Who put the car window down while you were traveling if you forgot the “lock windows” function on your control panel. Don’t be naïve – the whole point is to get the “other” into trouble so one child reaches across the back seat, puts down the window farthest from him/her then sits back and watches the obvious culprit (seated next to the open window) get the blame; and will argue that being so far away it was impossible to adjust the window, while the innocent victim becomes more enraged at the injustice of it all.
- Who started whatever argument they are embroiled in. Of course it is always the other one’s fault.
- Whether mum or dad has the best car. Even if they are matching models they WILL find points of difference.
- Which song should be played in the car or at home.
- Who should be hugged/kissed by mum/dad first on arrival at home.
- Who gets to use a particular crayon, sharpie or paint color. If there are 24 in the set rest assured they will both want the cherry red, and the scarlet, vermilion or maroon will just not cut it. They have to have cherry red at the same time, and will use fists, teeth and all the wrestling skills at their disposal to ensure they get it.
- Who gets to be pushed/pulled on a floatable pool toy. Even a stopwatch isn’t going to prevent folded arms and a lip that drops to the pool-bottom as one sibling perceives more time is spent on the “other.”
- Who opens the car door first. Even though a car may have four doors they always have to aim for the same door handle.
- Who forgot to shut the door and now the dog has trailed mud onto the carpet.
- Who gets to throw the ball for the dog first. It doesn’t matter if you have 3 balls for one dog –the ball the other child has in its hand will always be first choice.
- Whose turn it is to feed the dog/cat/ rabbit/hamster.
- Who cleaned the rabbit/hamster cage last. “I always have to do it – it’s not fair.”
- Who let the hamster escape? Dead silence. Mutual pointing of fingers.
- Who finished all the chocolate/sweets/crisps, and “Didn’t leave any for me,” or, “Is not sharing.”
- Who gets to add items to a supermarket trolley. “He got to put in four things and I only got to put in three.” Sigh. Mental note to self: get a referee’s whistle and an app so you can replay the episode and allow the technical match official to provide an impartial ruling.
- Who gets to sit on mum/dad’s lap. “I was here first.” “It’s my turn, you always get to sit there – it’s not fair.”
- Who got a larger slice of cake/pie.
- Who is going in too deep when swimming at the ocean/lake. “You are going too deep.” “Am not.” “I’m bigger so I can.” “I swim better.”
- Who “touched” the other first when seated on a couch or the back seat of a car. “Mom – she touched me.” “Didn’t.” “Did too.”
While all the arguing may have you wishing for a padded cell by the end of the evening once they are asleep you can’t help but love those angelic little faces.
Life is competitive and continuous bickering is preparing them for the real world. Instinctively they are honing their survival skills, making them better able to hold their place in society and resist bullying. If you have ever watched kittens and puppies play together you will realize all that rolling around and play biting, is in preparation for a fight for survival where they must protect the jugular and soft undersides.
And if you think young children don’t love each other just wait until another child tries to harm one of them! They will give new depth to the term “united front.”