10 Tips To Stop Fighting in the Car

Despite juggling work and family for more than a decade, I am powerless to solve a problem that is ruining my personal and professional life: I can't get my three kids, ages 10, 9 and 5, to stop fighting in the car.

Every morning I send three happy, well-fed, rested kids out to the car to head to school. The bickering speeds up the closer we get to the garage. "I'm sitting in back!" "No I am" "I don't want to go around to that side" and so on. Once inside the car, the fighting gets worse. "He touched me!" "Stop singing" "She's making that scratching noise!"

By the time I drop them at school and get to work, I'm a wreck. At the end of the day, the routine starts all over again, as if the kids have been plotting all day long about how to drive each other (and me) completely nuts in the confined space of the car. The drive between school and home is pretty short, but even 15 minutes of this high-pitched warfare frays every nerve I've got.

I have tried reason, explaining how dangerous it is to distract the driver (me). I have used bribery and threats. I have yelled. I have cried. I have turned up the radio and ignored them. This has been going on for years.

So I asked On Balance readers and an assortment of family, friends and babysitters what works best.

Here are their totally brilliant Top Ten Tips to Stop Fighting in the Car. I suggest taping this to your steering wheel (I already have).

1. Distract Them: Make them look out the car window and see how many cats you see. Or dogs or red trucks or whatever.

2. Draw lines in the back seat with masking tape. If they cross the line, pull over and threaten to put the tape on their mouths.

3. Make graphic, brutal threats -- in your head. Count to 10 and change the radio station.

4. Keep them engaged with you or the world around them. Make up fun car games. My dad used to pretend the car had a mind of its own and would drive us places that we wanted to go, usually McDonald's. I used to whisper to the car because my imagination actually allowed me to believe it wasn't my dad making the choices.

5. Assign seats. Parents make the rules about seating. If choosing a seat isn't an option to begin with they won't be able to fight about who gets to sit where.

6. When you have had enough, pull over to the side of the road and make them get out of the car and sit on the curb for a few minutes. The shock value alone usually produces the desired result.

7. Don't drive if you don't have to. Kids typically don't like enclosed spaces. So, be smart about when and how long you will keep kids in the car. Don't set yourself and them up for failure by overextending kids' car-tolerance. Walking or taking the bus is far easier!

8. Entertain them. Tell stories, sing songs, put on their favorite music. If you have a DVD player in the car, use sing-along videos where everyone, including the driver, sings, gets silly and laughs together (good for at least for 30 minutes)!

9. Keep fighting rules consistent in the house and the car. If you allow fighting to occur in the house, it's sure to happen even more so in confined spaces.

10. Reward good behavior. If they are all being angels and you have time, swing by Subway or the park or their favorite ice cream place unexpectedly as a reward for being so well-behaved.

Does this problem hit home for you? What would you add to the tips list?

Next week's Top Ten Tips List: How to Transition Back to Work After Time At Home. Send me your tips so I can include 'em in next week's Top Ten.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  March 3, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Top Ten Tips
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You can tell how old I am!

I went for books on tape. Always be sure you cut off at the end of a chapter. So when you start up again the story picks up.

Start talking about what was happening as you get into the car. It's a variation of distraction.

Otherwise you have to draw a firm line between verbal fighting and pushing, poking, hitting that may distract the driver and cause an accident. It was always my opinion that it took two children to fight, so any injuries between the participants weren't my concern.

I also always had better behavior with car pools. The presence of a non-family member tended to raise the bar for bad behavior.

Posted by: RedBird27 | March 3, 2008 7:35 AM

Buy a minivan!!! Kids get a lot of space to themselves and it cuts out a lot of arguments/fights that occur from being in close quarters for an extended period!

Posted by: happydad | March 3, 2008 7:38 AM

The best tip I ever heard, mind you this only works with tweens and above, is to pull over and start making out with your husband. They will be so shocked and horrified that they will do literally ANYTHING to not be subjected to that again! I can't wait to try it when my kids get bigger.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | March 3, 2008 7:39 AM

Yesterday, I heard the 2nd most dreaded words a parent can hear.

Dad, when are you going to teach me how to drive?


Son will be driving the Creepy Van (tm)

Posted by: fred | March 3, 2008 8:00 AM

I have no tips. I am just so happy that there are other parents who deal with these same issues. Sometimes I think all other parents can handle everything better than I!

Thanks! Andrea

Posted by: Stormy1 | March 3, 2008 8:21 AM

My kids aren't quite there *yet*. Can't you just ignore it? Isn't getting a rise out of mom or dad one thing they're looking for?

On the other hand, when they *have* fought, I would turn to them and say: cut it out, or I'll separate you! With the mean look. The little one didn't know what separate meant, but he quieted down quickly. It didn't sound good to him (we have a van where the middle row has two seats, and you can slide one seat back and forth, so they are either together or apart - my older one from time to time asks to be separated from his brother, so I do - but it's only for a short while, typically).

Posted by: atlmom1234 | March 3, 2008 8:24 AM

I have tried to convince my children (6 and 9) that fighting doesn't happen in the car. I do try to reduce the times they are in the car, but that only goes so far. I cite the safety factor frequently (that is, I need the peace and quiet to drive safely). Some disagreements are reasonable, but when it gets distracting for me (and this is totally arbitrary--it depends on the traffic and what else is on my mind) I tell them to stop. Anyone who doesn't immediately loses "talking privileges" until they are ready to listen to me. You can also lose talking privileges for being sassy to me. Generally the child who lost privileges is allowed to choose for herself when she can begin talking again. If you keep talking or start up by being sassy or argumentative, you risk losing talking privileges for the rest of the way home.

For long car trips, I try to get a new CD. Books on tape don't work so well for us--one DD has a mild hearing loss that makes it difficult for her to follow the story with other distractions (car noise) competing for her ear's attention--but we use children's songs, musicals, and so forth. And now that they can both read, books help. Actually, both have been known to read on short trips also.

Posted by: janedoe | March 3, 2008 8:27 AM

moxiemom, L-O-freaking-L!!! How I wish I'd thought of that when my stepdaughter was in full throttle on car trips. I can't wait to tell my mother! That is one of the best laughs I've had in a long time.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 3, 2008 8:28 AM

How about just turning around and smacking them? Oh, that's right. People are too afraid of a little smack now and again will ruin their widdle kiddies self-esteem forever.

Seriously, just tell the kids "don't make me stop this car!", and if they continue to fight, then follow through and pull over and smack 'em. Kids fighting in cars must be as distracting as drivers talking on cell phones.

Posted by: scarlett_85 | March 3, 2008 8:35 AM

I have been tempted to put one in the trunk. Seriously. I have to take one not more than 3 minutes to school, then I take the other one about 10 minutes to his (pre)school. By the time I get the first one out of the car, I'm ready for a drink and it's not even 7:15.

The trunk sounds better all the time.

Posted by: MajorConfusion | March 3, 2008 8:36 AM

My wife and I have a rosary cd in our car. When the kids start acting up, all we do is have to pop that puppy in the cd player, crank the volume a little, and within 10 "Hail Maries", peace will fall upon the car. works. every. single. time!

Posted by: DandyLion | March 3, 2008 8:42 AM

Um...okay, no kids yet, but I'm confused here.

Sure, I remember fighting with my sibs a little bit in the car when we were growing up (3 kids, one back seat, it's gonna happen. But enough to drive my parents to distraction?

Sure, we had rules, assigned seating/zones. But what worked was the infamous "Mom voice".

My sibs are in their 40's and I'm almost so. They have children and we're all married. And my mom STILL has a "Mom voice" that can stop us in our tracks. Of course, now she uses it on her grand-kids or at family gatherings if she really needs help in the kitchen and can't be heard over the crowd, but she's still got it.

Does no one have a "Mom voice" anymore? The tone that says - "if you don't listen to me RIGHT NOW, there's going to be h*ll to pay?" Or is this no longer an acceptable parenting tool?

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | March 3, 2008 8:51 AM

One in the front seat, one in the back, one strapped down in the trunk. Rotate daily so that everybody has a chance in the trunk.

Alternatively, you could learn roping, hog-tying and gagging skills.

If you're going to scream and cry, you really need to mean it, and it has to be way worse than anything you've ever done before. Completely lose it. Be so far gone that you have to call your husband to pick them up from the side of the road, and then have him give them all a good grounding - say, a week of no extracurriculars, friends, TV or computer time - for upsetting you so badly. If they're late to school - bonus! Don't give them any excuse note, they don't deserve it.

If after all this they're still fighting in the car, consider tranquilizers in their cereal.

Posted by: northgs | March 3, 2008 8:57 AM

My solution? Have an only child.

Posted by: RiverCityVA | March 3, 2008 9:00 AM

Kids fighting in the car is FAR more distracting than one little cell phone!

New solution: make it illegal to fight in the car (or at least tell your kids so every time you pass a police officer).

Posted by: leslie4 | March 3, 2008 9:12 AM

"How about just turning around and smacking them?"

That's exactly what my mom did when she had to. Worked, too. Most of the time she only had to threaten to do it to restore order and silence. The ultimate threat was that she'd stop the car, get me out of the car, and give me a hiding by the side of the road. She never had to do that, but I never knew for sure that it was a bluff, so I backed down when the threat was made.

Posted by: mucus99 | March 3, 2008 9:16 AM

We had an "open road"/"closed road" policy. If traffic was good, then the road was "open" and we could talk or do whatever. If traffic was bad, or we were in an unfamiliar city, or my parents were talking, or we had been acting up, the road was declared "closed" and we were not allowed to talk or do anything but read quietly or listen to our walkmans.

For seating, my parents had a system where the house chores rotated on a weekly basis between us three kids. The person who had kitchen duty was responsible for helping to cook dinner and clean up, and since they had the heaviest workload they got to sit in the front seat--unless the front seat was occupied, as with a parent, and then they were stuck with the middle.

For keeping us quiet and occupied, my parents were purists. All the books we could carry, as well as a walkman and lots of spare batteries, and a pillow to nap. My dad said that buying all three of us walkmans was the best move he ever made. That, and encouraging us to run around like crazy whenever we stopped at a rest area on long trips. Getting back into the car panting and exhausted did wonders for our ability to behave.

Posted by: popslashgirl | March 3, 2008 9:18 AM

The same parents who can't control the behavior of their kids at home can't maintain sanity in the car. Big surprise, that.

Posted by: mn.188 | March 3, 2008 9:21 AM

I second the "making out in the car" suggestion, but it only works if both parents are there. (Actually, I think I might have even been the one that suggested it first.) It works. When DW and I start kissing, hugging, etc. it's guaranteed to clear the room. As the kids get older it grosses them out more - the 19, 17 and 16 year olds sort of understand how they got here and apparently the sight of DW and I in an embrace brings up visions they don't want!

Do it in the house; it clears the room. In the car, where there's nowhere for them to run? They'll promise any amount of peace and good behavior to not have to see that!

If there's only one adult in the car, you have to make a believable threat. "When we get home, the first thing I'm going to do is give your mother a big, juicy kiss for giving birth to you!"

HappyDad - even with a minivan, with four kids there are still two in the middle and two in the back. Not far enough away to prevent border incursions. (Although we can usually tell the state of the relationships be who's sitting with whom. And if there are three in one seat and only one in the other, well, it's for sure that somebody's being ostracized. Better find out why.)

northgs - if you're going to throw the tantrum, it better be a good one or they're just going to chalk it up as another empty threat. That came up with the 11-year old this weekend. She didn't believe me, so I had to escalate. She's still not talking to me, but she'll get over it, and now she's sort of aware that I will follow through on threats.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | March 3, 2008 9:24 AM

"Does no one have a "Mom voice" anymore? The tone that says - "if you don't listen to me RIGHT NOW, there's going to be h*ll to pay?" Or is this no longer
an acceptable parenting tool?"

Chasmosaur, there are a few things to consider about yelling and beating your kids:
1. The more you do it, the less effective it becomes. Spare it for emergencies.
2. It often takes more effort than a more effective solution.
3. It makes you a poor role model. the idea here is to teach your kids not to yell and hit, not to justify an acceptable reason to do so.

Leslie, my wife used to use the "I'm going to call jail" or "I'm going to take you to jail" threat on our youngest. It was surprisingly effective, but then the older kids picked up on it and started to use it to manipulate him, so we put a stop to it. So now what? I'll do what I've always done and make it up as I go along!

Posted by: DandyLion | March 3, 2008 9:51 AM

All we needed to hear was "wait until your father hears about this" or "wait until your father gets home" and we behaved litle little angels. He didn't spank us - I don't know why it worked but it did.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | March 3, 2008 9:58 AM

i always find it pathetic when a parent complains that they can't control their
children . It's not funny .it's not cute .
Try being parents instead of trying to be your child's friend . It's that simple

Posted by: lgregory2 | March 3, 2008 9:58 AM

"Assign seats."

Finally! A benefit of carseats (well, other than that whole keep the children safe thing).

Actually, this hasn't been that much of an issue for us... at least so far. 3 kids, 5 and under. On Saturday, though, when we were coming home late and had an hour drive, I wanted the 5-yr-old and 3-yr-old to stop shrieking so the younger ones would fall asleep. So I told them we were going to have a contest. We were going to see who could be quiet the longest. Fortunately, the 5-yr-old won and everyone fell asleep. The next day I gave her an ice cream reward so that maybe it will work again one day.

Posted by: rockvillemom | March 3, 2008 10:11 AM

well, different parenting for different parents I guess. I have to say my own 'mom voice' (TM) worked with all 4 kids. even with all 4 in the car and my husband trying to do work in the front seat. Though for long trips, the VCR/TV combo (this was back in the day) and games always worked wonders. So count one vote for distraction I hate nagging and they hate to hear me nag...hence the use of 'mom voice' when and as necessary. Overuse isn't an issue because, as mom, I get to make the rules.

I actually had more trouble getting them to stop kicking the seat in front of them in airplanes...but that is another story.

Posted by: dotted_1 | March 3, 2008 10:12 AM

"Try being parents instead of trying to be your child's friend . It's that simple."

Ditto. The parents on the bus manage to keep their kids quiet...

Posted by: chittybangbang | March 3, 2008 10:12 AM

"The parents on the bus manage to keep their kids quiet..."

Two factors play into that, though:

1 - better chance of larger physical separation means less chance of border incursions. Fewer cross-border raids means less conflict/less noise.

2 - "company manners" Even at a fairly young age most children seem to innately understand that the rules for behavior in public are different from those in private. Not all of them, but most.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | March 3, 2008 10:19 AM

The Fred Time Tested Method of Car Trips with Children.

1. get a mommy van

2. put all the kids in the very back seat

3. buy mass quantities of food and throw some back there every 15 minutes or so.

4. invest in earplugs

Happy Motoring!

Posted by: fred | March 3, 2008 10:19 AM

I don't really understand why certain seats are favorable to children. But it has been like this for the beginning of time. Why don't parents rotate different days. Like child #1 gets special seat on Mondays, child #2 on Tuesdays, child #3 on Wednesdays, Thursdays goes back to child #1 etc... It should end the confusion. You can even write it on the calendar. Other easy distractions, food, music, dvd playes, crayons and coloring books, and felt boards. Singing as a group is a good way too. But overall the trip from school to home is relatively short. It shouldn't be total chaos every day. I swear even with minivans, it seems like kids can't be controlled in cars anymore. Try squeezing three kids in the back seat of a Toyota hatch back (my fondest memories). I always seemed to get stuck in the middle. Now with each kid in their own safe zone, it still amazes me how much kids can fight in the car. Oh the things to look forward to with baby #2.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 3, 2008 10:27 AM

i think you can be your child's friend and still be a good disciplinarian.

Posted by: leslie4 | March 3, 2008 11:13 AM

This is interesting and all, but I'm kind of disappointed that Leslie didn't choose Monday's column to address the op-ed piece by Charlotte Allen about how dumb women are and why we women should just accept our feebler minds.

Posted by: JEGS | March 3, 2008 11:16 AM

i was too dumb to understand it.

Posted by: leslie4 | March 3, 2008 11:20 AM

ArmyBrat - I totally agree about the tantrum. It should only be used as a last resort, it should be genuine, and it should be way outside of normal behavior, in the car or out of it. This isn't a nice thing to say, but the point is to scare the passengers into good behavior. Not in a "Mom is going to hurt me" way, but in a "Mom is totally freaking out, now what do I do?" way. Probably not very good parenting technique, but sometimes you go with what you've got. I used it successfully once, the only time I tried it, as a 20-year-old with teenage passengers. I honestly don't know how well it would work on elementary-aged kids.

Posted by: northgs | March 3, 2008 11:21 AM

I completely agree with Leslie's 11:13. I'll even go one step further and say that being a good disciplinarian or teacher doesn't require a bunch of strict rules and punishments.

However, it DOES take a lot of love, effort and patience.

Posted by: DandyLion | March 3, 2008 11:25 AM

Army Brat - I think it was you!! Sorry for not appropriately citing my source. I think that may be the most effective technique ever, more effective than the time my dad pulled over in Kansas, marched into the field, grabbed a stalk of corn and then smacked both my brother and I on the backs of our bare legs. We were quiet all the way to Nevada!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | March 3, 2008 11:26 AM

Since tackling this topic, I have to report back what's worked in the car: assigned seating. Each day before we leave the house I annouce who is sitting where. This seems to set a good, militaristic tone (I'm in charge here!) that lasts for the 11 minutes it takes to drive to school. It also helps that due to travel and sleepovers, I've only had to deal with one to two kids at once. Phew! What's really most remarkable is that I couldn't figure this one out on my own.

Posted by: leslie4 | March 3, 2008 11:28 AM

"...op-ed piece by Charlotte Allen..."

It was not academically rigorous enough to invite serious comment and it was not well written enough to be a satire. But I think that the 600 plus comments were more than enough discussion.

Having said that, I still don't get Dr. McDreamy!

Posted by: Fred | March 3, 2008 11:37 AM

I've been reasonably lucky with a rule that when there's too much bickering no one is allowed to speak at all. Occasionally there's the kid who starts humming and when I grouse, says 'but I wasn't talking! You just said we couldn't talk.'
Most of the time, when I have a bad situation that repeats itself (not necessarily in the car), I spend some time (when calm, cool and collected) thinking of a reasonable consequence that I can impose to regain the upper hand the next time around.
Starting a round of singing or games is just too much work for me!

Posted by: anne.saunders | March 3, 2008 11:43 AM

A while back there was an episode on Super Nanny with a mother who had trouble getting her children into the car (I believe there were 3 or 4 of them) and then having them behave in the car. While they were all pretty young, (5 and under) I think what she did would work well with older children. The mother was instructed to have them race against the clock to have her children get ready for getting into the car. For behaving in the car, Jo had the mother instruct the children on how she expected them to behave in the car. Keep hands and feet to yourself, no yelling, etc. Jo created this "frequent flier miles" program for the mother to use. If the children behaved well in the car, they got a sticker to put on a chart. Once they got a certain number of stickers, they were rewarded. Some of the rewards included, having a friend spend the night, staying up half an hour later on the weekend. You would have to somewhat modify this for older children, but I think it could work. Perhaps you could say, when you get "X" number of checkmarks, you get a turn to sit in desired seat. The children responded well to seeing stickers accumulate and hearing the mother telling them they behaved well. I also believe that when the children heard what was expected of them, it cleared up any confusion and encouraged them to be considerate. I don't agree with all of Jo's methods, but this one seems like a good idea.

Posted by: meredithneale | March 3, 2008 11:46 AM

When my sister and I would fight in the back seat, my exasperated mother would turn around and beat the crap out of us. I guess it worked at the time, but I wish she had tried some of the gentler, more creative alternatives suggested here.

Posted by: Retrovirus | March 3, 2008 11:51 AM

We didn't have much problem fighting in the car on the way to school, even with all of us siblings....because we either WALKED or TOOK THE BUS to school.
Just sayin'

Posted by: Catwhowalked | March 3, 2008 12:11 PM

Catwhowalked, likewise. I sometimes wonder why parents (or future parents) don't consider proximity to schools more strongly in selecting a home.

Posted by: mehitabel | March 3, 2008 12:16 PM

Make brutal, graphic threats out loud. If that doesn't work, see to Scarlett's post.

I only have one child, so I don't have to deal with fights, but I think this gets to the overall expectations of children's behavior. My daughter learned early on that I expected her to behave in public. Twice she threw tantrums in public, then she learned she faced my wrath once I got her home. As a result, I have been able to take her anywhere since age 7 and I know she will be perfectly behaved. It's now a matter of her own self-image--she doesn't want to be one of THOSE kids she sees making an a$$ of themselves in public.

Posted by: pepperjade | March 3, 2008 12:26 PM

If the kids are behaving, they get to pick the car music.
If they're not, then I pick. I like to crank up Barry Manilow real loud and sing along. If I really want to mortify them, I make sure the windows are rolled down so others can hear as we drive by places where people are likely to recognize us.
("her name was Lola, she was a showgirl . .. ")

Posted by: justlurking | March 3, 2008 12:32 PM

Fortunately, I've only had those moments here and there...but they've been doozies.

Weird but effective-for-me: good ear muffs. If they drown out the sound of a shotgun, they will muffle the roar in the back seat. (This is EXCELLENT for colicky/fussy newborns too. You still hear them, but your shoulders don't go up around your neck.)

The Mom Voice.

Putting in a CD with VERY juvenile music, rolling down the window and singing loudly. Few things make kids wish to die quite as nicely as singing nursery rhymes (but I doff my chapeau to Moxiemom--if only I drove with my husband & the kids, I'd USE THAT ONE), particularly in the school parking lot. (evil laugh)

One memorable time, The Mom Voice failed and the cheeky little snot rag in the backseat continued with the nastiest stream of vitriol known to humankind, so I almost scared the kid to death.

I pulled over.

I parked the car.

I walked away.

I returned after 15 minutes and didn't say a word.

The eyes were huge. The fear was palpable. The apologies flowed as rapidly as the tears.

The kid was grounded for a fortnight (double the age) and I refused to answer to "Mom". Had to address me like a teacher.

But usually there's not a whole lot of squabbling.

And yeah, I've thought about the trunk too. But my kids were testing the safety release in the trunk back when I was trying out cars, so they know how to escape, if need be. Talk about a LOT of raised eyebrows at the car dealership, when one kid was squealing, "Lock me in the trunk again, Mom!


Posted by: maryland_mother | March 3, 2008 12:52 PM

Sorry, I wanted to clarify something. The time I parked and walked away, I had my cell phone and the keys, and I was within sight. I just got out of the car. I was also seen talking into the cell phone. I wonder if the kid thought I was calling the cops, or something.

I was calling my parents, ranting and raving about how this was it, I was running away from home and I was NEVER going back, take your choice of grandkids if you want 'em. I felt a lot better when I was done being talked off the parental ledge.

Posted by: maryland_mother | March 3, 2008 1:01 PM

justlurking - that is hysterical. Of course,now that stupid song is stuck in my head!
When we went on long trips, we had assigned seats based on age. You sat in your seat and that was that.

Posted by: Catwhowalked | March 3, 2008 1:02 PM

Many, MANY moons ago, on a two-month "trip across the west", my parents would occasionally kick the four of us out of the car and drive off.

As the youngest (7), I was nervous. But my sisters (oldest, 14), weren't, so I stuck with them. We spent some time picking wildflowers and walking up the road and, lo and behold, about a quarter to a half mile up (and usually over a hill), there was the car.

Served two purposes:
1. We all got some exercise/burned off some energy.
2. Parents got a fifteen minute break.

Hard to imagine doing that today, but it worked wonders then.

Posted by: thad_delaplane | March 3, 2008 1:06 PM

MM- Beautifully written!

Posted by: atb2 | March 3, 2008 1:39 PM

outstanding addition to today's top ten:

"If the kids are behaving, they get to pick the car music."

will institute this one right away.

Posted by: leslie4 | March 3, 2008 1:45 PM

"If the kids are behaving, they get to pick the car music."

Which kid gets to pick? Sounds like you're inviting a squabble that you'll have to settle.

If the kids are behaving, just let them behave! Choose your own music. That's win-win in my book!

Posted by: DandyLion | March 3, 2008 2:09 PM

True DandyLion. Every solution leads to another fight. So I'm back to Military Mom -- I pick who gets to pick the music. Fortunately I've made sure they all like the same music I like. A real win-win.

Posted by: leslie4 | March 3, 2008 2:11 PM

Fortunately I've made sure they all like the same music I like. A real win-win.

Oh Leslie,

You enjoy those moments. I figure the only way my kids can truly drive me around the bend with their musical tastes is to play muzak. Softly.

I know my time is coming...the question is when?


Posted by: maryland_mother | March 3, 2008 2:15 PM


Much better Lola song that won't drive ME and the kids crazy.

"I met her in a club down in old soho
Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry-cola
C-o-l-a cola
She walked up to me and she asked me to dance
I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice she said lola
L-o-l-a lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola"

Posted by: Fred | March 3, 2008 2:22 PM

MM, have you ever responded the plea in the back, "Mommy, he's hitting me!" with:

1. You deserve it! or
2. Hit him back, maybe he'll stop!

Try it! Live a little. Life is an adventure!

Posted by: DandyLion | March 3, 2008 2:29 PM

"Buy a minivan!!! Kids get a lot of space to themselves and it cuts out a lot of arguments/fights that occur from being in close quarters for an extended period!"

Posted by: happydad | March 3, 2008 07:38 AM

That's one of the three things we did. We got a seven-seater.

"I sometimes wonder why parents (or future parents) don't consider proximity to schools more strongly in selecting a home."

Posted by: mehitabel | March 3, 2008 12:16 PM

That's even better, because it cuts out the "extended period" that the kids have to sit still. We moved to within a seven-minute drive of our children's school.

The third thing we did was join a car pool. (Sorry, no "seven" connection here, but this ain't the Book of Revelation.) Our kids would have been embarrassed to fight or whine in the presence of their friends.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | March 3, 2008 2:34 PM

DL -- I find that a little sarcasm goes a long way with my kids, too. When they're bickering over car seating I tell them to find something important to fight about -- like civil rights, making child abuse a crime, stopping the war in Iraq. Etc. This falls into the "Distract Them" tip category.

Posted by: leslie4 | March 3, 2008 2:35 PM

MM - weren't you looking for a glass divider like in taxis?

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | March 3, 2008 2:38 PM

MM & KLB, How about pet-carriers for the kids? LOL! How are you doing, KLB?

Posted by: mehitabel | March 3, 2008 2:41 PM

I have also considered a bunch of cages in back, like the ones in K-9 police cars.

Posted by: leslie4 | March 3, 2008 2:42 PM

Get 'em each an iPod. That way they ignore each other and can listen to their own music while I drive in peace.

Works for teens! Not as much fun as the "stop and make out" trick but sometimes more convenient in that it doesn't require stopping.

Either that or just ask 'em again to run through the politically-incorrect nicknames for each of the Howard County high schools. Kills 'em every time.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | March 3, 2008 2:44 PM

MM - weren't you looking for a glass divider like in taxis?

No, no, one of those windows that go up and down between the driver and the passengers in the back seat.

Soundproof, at the very least. But I guess I'd roll it down in the event of blood.


Posted by: maryland_mother | March 3, 2008 2:52 PM

MM, You must be thinking of a limo.

Posted by: mehitabel | March 3, 2008 2:54 PM

Mehitabel, hanging in there - thanks. Some days are better than others but that goes for everyone. Spring is almost here - that usually cheers me up.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | March 3, 2008 2:59 PM

It sure feels like spring here today too -- though we could have snow again by Wednesday evening (ack!). Didn't you have a birthday recently, or am I confusing you with another regular chatter?

Posted by: mehitabel | March 3, 2008 3:06 PM

OT - Whatever happened to Patrick? Haven't seen him around in ages.

Posted by: emily111 | March 3, 2008 4:01 PM

Emily, I'll split the extra flan with ya!

Posted by: mehitabel | March 3, 2008 4:12 PM

LOL, Mehitabel. What extra flan? Nursing makes me feel famished. I could eat a whole flan all by myself. But I need to be careful, or those dreaded pregnancy outfits might become my usual duds.

Posted by: emily111 | March 3, 2008 5:33 PM

http://geo.ya.com/kotimare/ bleper

Posted by: duchos | April 20, 2008 2:50 AM

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