Now that summer is here and I have both of my children with me 24/7, I get to spend a lot of my time breaking up fights, trying to settle arguments, and placing children in separate rooms or, in some cases, separate floors. Many of these fights are along the lines of “Stop touching me!” or “That’s MINE!” but as the days have progressed it has occurred to me that there are some major, consistently reoccurring fights from my childhood that my kids are missing out on.
The biggest one that hit me the other day was classic fight numero uno from my growing up years. This fight can be referred to as “Who gets the front seat?” These days kids are strapped into safety harnesses until they turn 35 and required to use a booster seat at least until retirement age, and don’t even think about putting one of them into the front seat of your vehicle, but when I was growing up, when one of the parents was not present and we had to go somewhere, you can bet that blood was going to be spilled deciding on whose turn it was to ride up front with Mom or Dad. And when both parents werein the car, there was still bickering going on over who got the window seats and who was going to be stuck squished in the middle. But my kids will never have this fight that my siblings and I had on almost a daily basis. They know which seat in the car is theirs, and heaven help you if you try to sit in it.
Another big argument that might have occurred in my childhood home was what we can now call the “Which show to watch?” fight. I’m not going to tell you that my kids don’t argue about which show to watch these days, but it is instead more about which show to watch first. With Netflix, On Demand, and the DVR, there is no question that they are going to get to watch what they want to watch eventually, it’s just a matter of in which order. But back in my day, that argument had teeth! If you got to watch the show you wanted, it meant that somebody else was not going to get to watch what they wanted. Possibly ever. Maybe they could catch it on a repeat (my kids will probably not know what those are either), but more than likely they were going to miss out. When we had these arguments the stakes were high, and the tensions higher. My children will never understand this.
Finally, and though this is not really an issue yet for my 3 and 6 year olds, there is another fight that began in our tweenage years that my children will probably never have. Let’s call this one “Get off the phone! It’s my turn!” Do any of you remember a time when you were desperate to use the phone, either because you were expecting an important call, or because you really, really need to make one, but you couldn’t, because some obnoxious family member was hogging it? Now I can’t say this for sure, because, believe it or not, I can’t actually predict the future, but looking at the trends it seems likely that my teenaged children will have their own phones. And even if they don’t, there will be call waiting, and voice mail, and skype, and texting, and online chatting, and possibly direct mind-to-mind psychic communication. So I can’t imagine that my children will be hanging out by the phone begging their sibling to get off of it, which is what I did any time my sister had a boyfriend. Or what my sister did when I would get on the phone with my girlfriend. Or what my mother would do anytime any one of us got on the phone with our paramours.
The world is changing, and sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes it isn’t. But having less things to fight about is certainly a step in the right direction, no? Although, now that I think about it, my siblings and I never fought over what movie to watch on long road trips. And we never argued about who had to take out the recycling. And we never would have dreamed that there could be a fight about which specific song to play in the car. Soooooo…..progress?