What the Fork?


I have four kids. They are all females. And they fight. 

It amazes me that a 14-year-old would have anything to fight about with a 5-year-old; but still they bicker. And the 5-year-old – well, having been born with three older sisters already intact – I can say, for sure, that she can hold her own in these arguments. 

Don’t get me wrong. There are moments when the kids are all peaceful (like, when they are all asleep). But there are more moments when the kids seem to find just about anything, anything at all, to argue over. And most of the time, my mediating only leads to cries of, “You are so unfair,” or “She always gets her way.” At any rate, I allow the criticism to go in one ear and out the other. 

I always assumed that, as my children grew up, there would come a time when the arguing over who gets to do this first, or who does that, or whose turn it is to clear the table, or who gets to sit “shotgun,” would end. I was wrong. Very wrong.

The other night, with the kids setting the table and getting ready for dinner, a yelling match ensued. Over a fork. 

I have a hodgepodge of mismatched silverware that I use. And nearly every night, there is this one specific fork that the kids fight over. It’s a simple fork, honestly no different than the other forks. It even works the same. And considering that my kids are prone to eating with their fingers, I am not sure why a fork should be an issue at all. 

But on this particular night, it was

Child C got it first, and then child B decided it was her turn to have it. Child A said “that’s unfair because I NEVER get to use it,” and child D, the youngest, said it should be hers because it was the smallest fork in the drawer (makes sense because she IS the smallest).

I really don’t have time for this. I remembered back to a time when my twins were 3 and they were fighting in the backseat of the car over something stupid. I told them to hand it over to me and I threw the stupid something out of the window. When the fork problem arose, I felt very much the same way, but I wasn’t driving and there was no window to throw it out of. 

So, I broke the fork. It was a really cheap fork from Dollar Tree, which meant it couldn’t stand up to steak, let alone my frustration. Then I threw it in the trash. And that was the end of that. 

Suddenly, all the kids could agree. Mama has gone crazy

Child A asked me if that was really necessary. Child D, the smallest, put her head down on the table and cried. Child B and Child C, who started the argument in the first place, shot daggers at me with their eyes. And then we sat down to a nice meal, eating with our fingers and getting along again. Which seems to say that the fork argument was really pointless and probably just another attempt to drive me to the brink of insanity. 

Do your kids ever bicker and argue, or fight, over some of the dumbest things ever? Do you get involved, or do you simply allow them to work it out?

What do you think?

What the Fork?

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense lov ... More

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  1. Profile photo of Elizabeth Elizabeth says:

    This made me laugh out loud! It reminds me of my siblings growing up. Sometimes mom has to be the common enemy. 🙂

  2. Profile photo of Jules Jules says:

    I love your story! So far I have a 4 year old & a 4 month old. I know my days are coming & i will do exactly what you did!

  3. Profile photo of mommyof4 mommyof4 says:

    i have 3 and one on way. 10 yr old girl, 8 yr old boy and 7 yr old girl. they argue also over the smallest things. my oldest thinks she is mom, my son is the only boy, and he thinks he is in charge. they tattle over everything. my youngest is so spoiled she thinks she doesnt have to listen to me and smart mouth back. being emotional in this pregnancy i go crazy and dont ever know what to do. alot of times they make me feel like i am not their mom…….

  4. Profile photo of Lady Lady says:

    I have a 5 year old and a 2 year old boy and they are constantly arguing over the silliest things. I think it is total nonsense most of the time, but I realize that what is insignificant to me as an adult is monumental to them as children. Even with this realization, their arguing annoys me to no end. I think one of the main reasons for some of their arguments are that they have very similar personalities. They are super competitive and both want to be in control. I too have thrown things away or just hidden them if I spent some money on them. I am hoping when my daughter is in school next year things will get better.

  5. Profile photo of Amber Amber says:

    I have also thrown things out the car window also, though I try not to now as whatever it is gets replaced by me. That would be Mom’s fork, then everyone is equally deprived:P

  6. Profile photo of Amber Amber says:

    Really?! lmao.
    One, she may not have the money to buy a brand new matching set of silverware. (Or buys used by choice to keep waste down.)
    Two, responding to arguments by buying more crap is almost never the solution and just teaches kids to be brats until Mom breaks down and grabs the credit card.
    Three, if they want to argue they will argue. Period. If not the fork then something else which was kind of the point of the post.

  7. Profile photo of Nikki Nikki says:

    I think there is something wrong when my kids aren’t arguing over everything. I have a 8, 4, and 3 year old girls and a 4 month old boy. My girls always fight over everything. The younger ones want to be like the older girl and the older girl wants to do older girl things until her little sisters get to do something. They were fighting over who got to throw away their baby brother’s dirty diaper yesterday and always who gets to turn on or off the tv. I don’t get it.

  8. Profile photo of Maggie Maggie says:

    There is so much you can do to avoid these kind of situation. Why did you keep the fork if you knew it was an issue every time they were going to eat? How about a nice set of silverware they won’t fight over it because every one will be getting one?

  9. Profile photo of Danielle Danielle says:

    What do you do when your kids argue about imaginary things? They drive me nuts with this!

  10. It’s great to know I’m not alone with this issue!

  11. Profile photo of Amanda Amanda says:

    I really truly thought that my parenting skills were lacking somewhere, and that other people’s children could not possibly fight as much as my two. Glad to hear that I am wrong! It feels better knowing I’m not alone. My two are 5 and 3, both boys, and both very stubborn. They argue.over.everything!! Who gets to play with what toy and when, who gets to pick the television show, who gets to hold Mommy’s left hand and who gets to hold her right hand (I kid you not!). My oldest tries to make sure that everyone follows the rules, which leads to "Mommy, Sebastian’s not doing what he’s told" and then his younger brother starts shrieking "yes, I am!" or "leave me alone!". I try to let them work it out on their own, but if they are fighting over a toy, I take it away and say "if you can’t figure out how to share it, then no one gets to play with it". Some days the only thing that keeps me sane is my big cup of coffee!! lol

  12. Profile photo of Tami Tami says:

    I nearly cried I was laughing so hard!! This is my world! Minus on girl (I only have 3)

  13. Profile photo of marissa marissa says:

    I can totally relate to this situation too! I have 3 kids, 5, 4, & 3 and then can fight like you would not believe. To solve this problem I incorporated from the older kids’ prechool the "Kid of the Day". If you are "kid of the day" then you get the special fork,( in our case it is the cereal spoon from the TRIX cereal…yes a plastic spoon!!!), you get to help with dinner if you choose, you get to say the blessing, you get to be first to brush teeth, hair, bath, etc. This has helped tremendously and every morning the kids ask "Who is Kid of the Day?" Even Dada & Mami get to be "kid of the day" so it’s fair for everyone in the family.

  14. Profile photo of Melissa Melissa says:

    We did have that same exact situation in my family growing up… 4 girls, with range of ages, and I do remember the "special" silverware that we would use mixed in with the "old silverware" and we always fought over who got the newer silverware… too funny!

  15. Profile photo of Tonya Tonya says:

    You have no idea what a relief it is to find someone else who takes drastic measures just to stop the fighting. I have three boys – 8, 3, and 11 months and the 8 year old and 3 year old are constantly fighting. There have been many times where I get so frustrated that I just pick up the toy and chuck it!!
    I was laughing out loud reading your story because it sounds so much like something that would happen at my house. Thanks for the laugh.

  16. Profile photo of Crystal Crystal says:

    I was reading this and totally thinking omg she stalked my life! I have all girls 14, 9, 7, 5 and 10 months and I’ve literally had that exact fight only around our house its called the "flower fork" and with my 7 year old being named "Daisy" she automatically thinks anything with flowers belongs to her. We also have a lovely mismatched silverware set, my 5 year old put up the same small fork for a small kid fight too. Too funny! Thanks for making me feel like less of a freak today. 🙂

  17. Profile photo of Leslie Leslie says:

    I am in the stage discussing if we will be trying for #2 soon…I have some reconsidering to do after reading these….

  18. Profile photo of lawmaria lawmaria says:

    lol i have kids that fight over forks and seats at the dinner table, the remote control, seats on the sofa. it never ends (the list goes on and on). i sometimes get involved and sometimes i just try to ignore it.

  19. I completely relate to u. My 4 boys are a lil bit younger but this happens almost EVERY SINGLE. DAY! It drives me nuts. I dont remember fighting with my 4 siblings like my kids fight now.

  20. Are you sure we are not twins? LOL! I have a 14 year old, 8 year old, 12 year old, and a 3 year old and can really relate to this post. I mostly let them settle things on their own and call it a lesson in conflict resolution. LOL But a few months back, they kept fighting over a large ball that they had hauled over and over from the backyard into the living room. I told them several times over many weeks to stop bringing that ball back into the house. They didn’t listen and kept fighting over it…c’mon,, 14 year old, you’re 14!! Act like it! LOL So I quietly went over and popped the ball with a knife…I didn’t say a word. It went quiet in the house and to this day, they know better than fight over any ball that is supposed t be outside. Oh, I’m mean.

  21. Profile photo of Courtney Courtney says:

    Well…I have a 6 yr old, 3 yr old and an 8 week old, all three girls. The older two fight abt EVERYTHING as well. I try to ignore them but I do intervene and when I do, I just take away whatever they are bickering over and sometimes they’ll get along right before I take it away so they can play with it. But it gets annoying!

  22. Profile photo of kamishac kamishac says:

    OMG! That sounds like everyday in my house. I have a total of 6: a 13 yr old boy, 12 yr old boy, 9 yr old boy, an 8 yr old girl, and a set of 11 month old twins. The twins are the best children in the house! The other four drive me absolutely nuts with the arguing ALL THE TIME! I swear, while reading your blog, I felt that you were talking directly to me. How do you handle it? I think I’m gonna go crazy if this doesn’t stop.

  23. Profile photo of charlotte charlotte says:

    My 14 year old son and 7 year old daughter are always fighing with each other over the dumbest things. They have been known to complain about one another looking out their window in the car. I tell them not to talk to each other, look at each other, pretend each other doesn’t exisit. Just so they will shut up. It is always he touched me she hit me he is looking at me funny.

  24. Profile photo of Anjuli Anjuli says:

    So, you’re telling me this is what I have to look forward to with my twins? lol Wait…they already do that to some extent, communicating via screaming at each other, now. Mine will turn 1 year old next month. My daughter HAS to have everything my son is playing with. It could be the exact same thing she has, doesn’t matter, she will stop playing with her toy and grab his and start playing with it. Drives us insane! We try to separate them sometimes depending on the situation and say, "no, not good" or something like, "be nice & share" but, it is hard at that age and frustrating at times. So, if you have any words of wisdom…please, lol.

  25. Profile photo of Annaillesa Annaillesa says:

    This is the exact same solution I use on my niece (2) and my nephew (3) when they argue over things. I throw it away or confiscate it, if it’s something more expensive. My biggest pet peeve in children is whining for silly reasons and especially stinginess. This method usually solves the problem for me. Right now I am pregnant with my first and I don’t think I will be in any rush to add another to the mix anytime soon. Lol.


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