Family car rides without the fighting - Tucson News Now

Family car rides without the fighting

© / Elena Elisseeva © / Elena Elisseeva

By Amy Robbins
From Life & Beauty Weekly


What's the safest way to get my kids to stop arguing with each other in the backseat while I'm driving?


In this situation, it's easy -- and common -- to get irritated right away, but resist the urge.

Getting irritated inevitably leaves you feeling even more powerless. And because you are behind the wheel, you can't turn around to mediate or help.

Your best bet is to stay one step ahead of your kids. And remember that rewards are more effective than punishment.

When you sense that the bickering is starting to escalate, say something like, "If you can make it through this car ride with only one one-minute argument, then I'll give you ______ when we get home."

The reward you offer should fit the situation. For example, behaving in the car may be worthy of a handful of M&M's, not a new video game.

And keep in mind that older children can delay gratification, but younger children need a more immediate reward.

Whatever you do, don't make empty threats. Often, parents at their boiling point say things like, "If you don't stop fighting, I'm going to pull over and leave you on the side of the road!"

Of course, you would never do this, so this comes across as an empty threat and decreases your credibility as a parent.

Instead, try distracting your kids from each other: sing a song, play a rhyming game or encourage conversation that includes everyone.

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