I HAD a delightful visit from two grandsons, aged 13 and 10, and the enclosed instructions accompanied them: Survival guide to coping with two pretty good boys from Ontario in a foreign land Rule 1: Love is not enough.
Two brothers, when in each other's company for an extended period of time (more than two hours), bicker. Now this condition is not harmful - but surely does become annoying.
Solution: Separate and give them a quiet time alone.
Rule 2: The Path of Least Resistance also known as give a camel an inch ...
Two boys who have been entertained for one hour will want to be entertained for two hours. If for two hours, then four, and so on in geometric progression. I discovered this law quite by accident when reviewing my own youth.
Solution: One must constantly remind oneself that one's own entertainment is his or her own responsibility. To deprive a child of this opportunity is almost a form of child abuse. One should remind a child of the world of books, etc., and leave him to his own devices.
Corollary to Rule 2: Empty minds are unmotivated or drop to the lowest level. Two boys, when suggested they entertain themselves, will have, ipso facto, empty minds because they will not be motivated to entertain themselves and will thus drop to the lowest level of self-entertainment, namely, roughhousing.
Solution: Suggest a very unpleasant form of entertainment, such as dusting, dishes, dirty laundry. This creates a great deal of motivation. Beware, however, that the children will test your resolve to carry through at least once. To save needless admonishment, the threat should be carried through on the first occasion to ensure it need be said only once thereafter.
Rule 3: In spite of what you have heard, restfulness is next to godliness. Two boys with less sleep and more excitement are about the closest thing to inviting the devil for dinner.
Solution: No. 1 Boy needs 9 hours' sleep, and No. 2 Boy needs 10 hours' sleep.
Elizabeth J. Rutland
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada
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