Parenting Perspective: School Bus Squabbles

April 1, 2010 10:01:45 AM PDT
Why is it that sweet little girls, who play nicely with their friends all weekend, can engage in World War III on a 10-minute ride home from school?

I don't know about you, but most of my school girl squabbles happen on the bus. Kids who normally get along, seem to find something to argue about. Perhaps it doesn't help that they are wound up, hungry and a bit cranky at that time of day!

I'm sure this happens with boys too, but since I have 2 school aged girls, I notice it more with them. Last year the walk home from the bus stop was usually a somber one as I turned into a mediator trying to solve the latest problem. Most of the time, they had no idea what they were arguing about.

It seems when they hit a certain age, they get caught up in the drama of being big enough to have something to fight about. My girls have a good relationship with each other. The problem seems to be how they interact with their friends.

So, what's a parent to do? Well, my fabulous neighbor is leading the charge this year. Her daughter is only sitting with siblings on the bus, in order to avoid the fights. In turn, my girls are sitting together and I think the other neighbors will follow. I'm also warning the girls not to put qualifiers on their relationships. I don't want them using the threat: "? or I won't be your friend anymore". That line was thrown around the bus so much, I thought it was the school mantra!

So, my course of action? Avoidance! I'm trying to steer them away from the situations that incite the most arguments and avoid using the language that stirs the arguments to a high pitched frenzy.

I'm pretty sure I can't actually end all bus stop squabbles. I also know I can't control where they sit and what they say when they leave the house. While I really hate to micromanager their lives, I do think it is my job to "direct" them on a path that will lead them to richer and more stable relationships.

I'm only into my first week of the plan - so far so good. Keep your fingers crossed!