Butting Outta Their Beefs

By Steph Fink

Sometimes I feel like a two liter bottle of soda, that’s been shaken – not stirred, that eagerly waits for the one small counter-clockwise turn, to blow.

When my kids fight, this is how I often feel…like I’m going to blow and spray words out from utter frustration.

And, in my honest attempt to keep the peace, I don my whistle and referee shirt and tell the opposing teams to take their sides. I referee the argument with fervor, trying to make sure both sides get fair playing (talking) time. My head ping pongs back and forth and by the end of it I’m shaken so much that I want to blow.

Until, I read Boundaries with Kids by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. One of the good doctors, wrote that he advised his two sons to work out their disagreement and let him know how it went.

Huh? I’m supposed to butt outta their beefs?

Humph. Well that’s different.

I no sooner learned this tactic when the “opportunity” arrived to implement to see if it has merit. As my boys argued, I thought about the idea of leading them to work it out on their own. No really, I did think about it. But the control freak in me took over and I refereed anyway. When the thirty minutes, which felt more like thirty y-e-a-r-s, passed, I promised myself…next time (cause I was confident there’d be a next time…) I’m buttin’ outta their beef.

Sure enough, the time came. I sat on my striped shirt and calmly stated, “Boys go into the next room, talk it out and let me know how it goes.”

Off they went.

I watched with sweaty palms from the adjacent room, certain they’d need Momma and her whistle. The oddest thing happened. Within three minutes, they aired their grievances, asked for an apology, granted forgiveness, started crying and hugged it out. There just might be something to this butting outta their beefs business.

What’s a tip that’s worked (or not) in your home while navigating through sibling arguments?

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4 Responses

  1. I didn’t learn to ‘butt out’ until my 2 boys were old enough to respectfully tell me to “butt out”. I had to learn the
    hard way . And I realized that I had robbed them of the opportunity to learn the fine art of negotiation and compromise.
    Not to mention a chance to practice listening to an opinion or idea that didn’t match up with their own . They have now had many opportunities to work out conflicts and differences and practice showing respect for each .

    I give them credit for achieving in a few short years what usually takes 15-20 years. God can work quickly if He chooses to.
    I am thankful that God didn’t ‘butt out’ even when I had to.

    1. Wow, “the chance to practice listening to an opinion that didn’t match their own” is going to going to help me butt out of the next beef. This very sentence contains so much wisdom. It will help them in so many areas of their lives, to include sharing their faith. THANK YOU, Beth! 🙂

  2. The butting out is something that is hard for me lol the little ones easy, because they don’t really have hard feelings to each other, the bigger ones are who I worry about because they can make up their “adult” minds. Each situation I feel, calls for different degrees of butting in, you can go full throttle butt in and get the backlash if any or gently sway it, so you don’t look like you butt in but you did, or just leave it be and see what they come up with. All I have tested trial and error. lol

    1. You bring up such a great perspective, Kymi. Yesterday my youngest had a very, very deep hurt (like the kind that brought the injured tears). They talked and yes, I had a very FAT EAR on their conversation…my oldest was headed not in the right direction. I did butt in help redirect. You’re so right that there are different degrees and I’m so glad God stands by our Momma sides and helps us shape our kids!

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