12 Mar How to End Your Children’s Backseat Fighting For Good
I have spent a lot of time in the car with my children, either driving to and from school, or to sports, rehearsal, doctors, etc. Thoughtful conversations between my children and myself was always my goal, but somehow turned into backseat fighting with sibling’s arguing and whining and me losing my cool and grounding them “forever.”
Logically, I knew that idle threats didn’t work in the long run, but every trip in the car had me forgetting any and all positive parenting tips and tricks that I had learned.
I came across an interesting solution to my problem and decided to implement it right away. The key to this solution was to discuss it when my children were calm and attentive, which for us was at the dinner table.
I reminded my children about the horrific backseat fighting that had gone on in the car that day on the way home from soccer practice. I stressed how distracted it made, and how dangerous it was to drive like that.
My children acknowledged that distracting the driver is unsafe, and I shared my solution with them. Whenever backseat fighting starts, I explained that I was going to pull over to the side of the road and wait for them to finish.
At first my children didn’t seem too impressed with my breakthrough solution. I explained that by pulling over every time they argue, we may be late for school, soccer practice, band practice, etc. I pointed out the consequences of being late.
Before our next trip in the car, I reminded my children of the new family rule and asked them to repeat it back to me. Off we went to a Saturday soccer game. As expected, the backseat fighting began, and I pulled safely off to the side of the road. It was almost a minute before my children realized we had stopped. Although they seemed surprised that I had actually done it, they didn’t stop arguing for a couple of minutes.
On our way again, another disagreement ensued, and again I pulled over. Once the backseat fighting stopped, we were finally able to head to the game. Due to stopping twice, we were late, and both of my children ended up sitting on the bench until the second half when the coach finally put them in.
As you can imagine, my children had a lot to say about not being allowed to play in the first half because we were late. I listened to their complaints, and reminded them that this was a consequence to fighting in the car.
I would love to say my children’s backseat fighting was cured after that one occasion, but it took a few more times, and a few more consequences before it worked. I spoke with my children’s coach and school, and explained what my family was doing in order to keep them in the loop.
Although this solution took some time, and some effort…it was worth it. I took action instead of making idle threats, my children learned that I meant what I said about distracting the driver, they suffered a few consequences and now our car trips are actually enjoyable.
How have you stopped backseat fighting? Share your tips and tricks!