July 19, 2012

Not in Public

My 11 year-old son and I went shopping for school clothes today, and when we were nearly finished we stopped to have lunch. I rarely go out with just one of the children, but I decided a little one-on-one time would be good for the kids, and for my sanity.

You see, they love each other dearly, but they fight and bicker. Oy!

One of the major activities they have been doing this summer is going to the community swimming pool, which is nice enough that it also has come slides. It's good for them to get out of the house, and I love them better when I don't have to listen to them all day long.

But, wait! Am I subjecting others to their drama?

So in casual conversation, I asked my son, "How are you and your sister doing a the pool? Do you get along, or do you fight?"

He shook his head like I was nutty and replied, "No, we get along."

"But not at home?"

He shook his head.

"Well, what the difference?" I asked him.

"That's public. We aren't going to fight in public." Again, the look that makes me think I'm crazy.

Well, isn't that bittersweet?

They know enough to act right in public, but it's absolutely okay to make my life miserable in the sanctuary of my home?

This parenting business is complicated.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My stepchildren fought in front of their father, but rarely in front of me, and almost never in front of other people. It was nice to know that they could hold it in to save us from parental embarrassment, but sometimes we asked ourselves what it meant that we didn't merit such consideration.

Eventually it waned. But we did sometimes say "Pretend we're strangers, please" so they knew we were at the end of our bickery ropes.