Today someone in my house threw a temper tantrum and ran crying out of the house. Yeah, that was me. Then to really drive the point home I got in the car and drove away. (There were two other adults in the house). How calm and rational of me, right? But, I have really had it with the squabling and back talk. And I'm really at a loss about what to do. I'm of two minds with it (if you don't count shipping them to their aunt's for the rest of the summer).
Mainly I want to PUNISH them until they learn the error of their ways and are transformed into children who never fight and answer every request I make with "yes, mam". We have never used much punishment, because I don't think it actually works. I can remember being punished as a child and just thinking, "You can only do that because you are bigger than me! I won't let you catch me next time." But still, being at a loss, I wonder if I can punish them into submission? But would I want that? Do I want to drive the behaviour underground so it turns into evil glares and meanness muttered under the breath?
My other thought is that really, the fighting is bothering me, not them and the rudeness is also directed at me. Can I learn to let the fighting roll off of me and not engage in it? Can I recognize that they must be getting something out of my reaction to their rudeness? They are unfailingly respectful to other people and I can and do send them out into the world without an ounce of concern about how they will behave. Do I trust that image of them, knowing that this too shall pass?
Or, back to my first thought (punish, punish, PUNISH!) do I demand that they speak to me respectfully? Can I demand this? Can I learn instead to disengage? Honestly, I don't know if I can do either.
Point me somewhere, people. A book, a theory, does anything exist?