Not in Front of the Children

when things get out of hand

We were brought up short by our son the other day.

We were in the middle of an argument.
Not a particularly serious one, but one of those tired, irritable bickering kinds of arguments you get into sometimes.

Well we do anyhow.

I can’t even remember what started it, but I do know we were batting to and fro, mithering about who it was that had misinterpreted the other’s tone first.

A little along the lines of…

“You deliberately chose to take offence when I didn’t mean it that way at all.”

“You accused me of snapping at you first.”

“No I didn’t.”

etc etc

yada yada yada

While we were offering this unedifying display of how not to behave, Ben was sitting on a kitchen chair between us, his head twisting from one to the other as if he were watching Wimbledon.
With interest, but with obvious amusement.

A little like those stalwarts on Henman Hill must have felt when Tim got to the semi-finals yet again.

And then, in a short gap when we were both pausing for breath, he said –

“You two are worse than me and Hannah.”

We had to laugh. He was right. And he’s learned his lesson well.

I’m forever saying to him, “Can you just accept what I’m saying without arguing all the time?”

His answer, if he weren’t too sensible to give it when he can see I’m about to get Really Cross, would be,

“Like you and Daddy, you mean?”

One day he won’t worry about tipping me over into Really Cross mode, and he will say it anyway.

Will I shout at him, or will I laugh out loud?

Top Mum

“Quarrelling is like cutting water with a sword.”

Chinese Proverb

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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2 Responses to Not in Front of the Children

  1. Beta Mum, sorry, but do we live parallel lives, or what? Even our arguments seem uncannily similar. Is good to have reassurance that my own marital bickering is normal.

    Anyway, isn’t it supposed to do kids good to see parents argue and resolve their arguments? Leads to emotional literacy, or something.

  2. Beta Mum says:

    MatL – that is odd, but very reassuring. I, too, have read that children benefit from seeing their parents resolve disagreements. Ben certainly seemed amused rather than bothered by our frank exchange of views.

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