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    The Darndest Things: Meddlesome

    March 2, 2011 by Brandy Vencel

    I think that it is typical of oldest children to get involved in things they ought not to be involved in. If they see their sisters fighting, for instance, they immediately Make It Their Business. I find that my number one obstacle to Masterly Inactivity is my oldest child, who can be overly helpful and…meddlesome.

    I am convinced that when he is a father he will see it my way.

    Of course, if he decides to move forward with becoming a monk, he’ll forever think I’m a freak.

    That is what I call taking one for the team.


    So the oldest child was meddling a while back, which resulted in the creation of problems which were not problems until he arrived on the scene. He was not in direct rebellion to me, but he did need correcting. My approach with this has been to have him write sentences. It seems to be effective as a tutor for him.

    So I wrote “I will not meddle” at the top of a page and told him he had to write it eight times. Here is what I got back from him:

    I will not meddle.
    I will not meddle.
    I will not meddle.
    I will not meddle.
    I will not meddle.
    I will not meddle.
    I will not meddle.
    I will not meddle.


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  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts March 5, 2011 at 12:00 am

    I think I have a special place in my heart for pot-stirrers. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Rahime March 4, 2011 at 8:25 am

    You’re totally right; I just had to stir the pot a bit. πŸ˜‰

    I think it depends a lot on the family dynamics. I don’t recall this ever being an issue for me before youngest sister came along, because it was usually in interactions between my sisters that I decided to stick my nose in where it didn’t belong.

  • Reply Mystie March 3, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Another oldest child here. I was definitely meddlesome, and I think it boiled down to not trusting Mom to do the right or needful thing, which was wrong and prideful.

    My oldest doesn’t seem to be meddlesome, but I think that’s probably part of the dynamics of our little people. Usually the collisions are between he and his brother, not between his brother & sister (#2 & #3), who tend to rarely get into scraps.

    E’s sentences are funny. I’ve never tried that teaching tool; I will have to file it away mentally. πŸ™‚ E seems to appreciate the “Law of the Language,” eh? πŸ™‚

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts March 3, 2011 at 7:53 pm


    I DO have him do things (like pouring milk sometimes). I could totally see that being inconsistent in a child’s eyes.

    One of the problems in OUR house is that he thinks I should take action when I have consciously chosen NOT to take action. I’m trying to help him understand the idea that parents sit back and watch sometimes, rather than intervening all the time, so that children can learn on their own. For instance, when the girls start fighting, I often wait a minute because many times that minute is all it takes for one of them to realize she is wrong and apologize, and I figure waiting that extra minute doesn’t mean I can’t discipline someone if they turn out to need it.

    I was an oldest child, but I do not remember being meddlesome, and I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps it is because, with only one sister, there is less to intervene in? Hmmm…

  • Reply Rahime March 3, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Nice!!! Smart boy.

    I totally agree that oldest children tend to be meddlesome. Since I was the oldest in my family, I’ve always thought that part of the problem was that parents don’t want their older children to “parent” the younger ones, but then they kinda do.

    My parents always reprimanded me for being bossy with my sisters, but they were also constantly saying things like “Rahime, pour your little sister a glass of milk,” or “Rahime, could you help you sister with _____” (fill in the blank with anything from tying her shoes to her questions about homework). It always seemed inconsistent to me.

    Not that you have this issue in your house, it just seems to me a pretty common thing.

  • Reply Jennifer March 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    He cracks me up.

  • Reply Mahers Hill Academy March 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Ha! Too funny!

  • Reply Books For Breakfast March 2, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Smart kid.

  • Reply Go quickly and tell March 2, 2011 at 5:57 pm


  • Reply wayside wanderer March 2, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    That’s funny. My dad always called it “poking my nose where it didn’t belong.”

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