I think a lot of us as parents find ourselves being referees. This is sometimes necessary, but man, is it exhausting.

I often joke that with the birth of your second child they should give you a referee jersey and a whistle. “Personal Foul, #2, illegal use of the hands!” Unbelievable.

I recently remembered an epic fight I had with my little sister. She literally jumped off the stairs onto my back and tried to pummel me from my shoulders. I promptly lifted her up and threw her on the couch. It was like WWE RAW.

How to Keep Your Kids from Fighting

So how do we avoid these fights? The truth is that you can’t. Not all the time. But we can at least give them the ability to solve these problems themselves.

As Ninja Dads it is our job to make sure that these kids have the ability to function, to get along with others, and to solve problems.

So, with that in mind, after an epic all day fight over who’s turn it was to play on the Nintendo switch, I sent my two youngest to their room with the instructions that they couldn’t come down until worked it out. They were required to come up with a solution that would work consistently over time—not just that day.

Crime and Punishment… and Resolution

So, after about 30 minutes they came downstairs with a solution. Neither of them were happy that I didn’t offer a solution for them, but I would have just taken the console away. In the end, they decided it would be better to work it out rather than both lose Nintendo time.

Here’s what they decided:

Coin flip settles who gets to go first. Then, they’ll use a timer to block out each player’s turn to play. If either one doesn’t play by the rules, they lose all TV and video game time for the day.

Not bad. We’ll see how it goes. I like that I wasn’t the one who did the work, and hopefully they will play by the rules because they were the ones who created them. I also hope that giving them the responsibility to make their own rules will give them more buy-in to the rules system.

I’m sure I’ll have to bring the whistle out once and a while, but at least the rules are clear. So, until someone jumps from the top rope and tries a Randy Savage elbow drop, my referee jersey is going back in the closet.

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