Parenting Guru: 5 minutes to a happier child

My family is not the Brady bunch. Far from it. We argue, we fight, we gripe at one another and we are sarcastically snarky. Yes, all five of us. And even though onlookers might compare us more closely to the Bundy's than the Brady's, it works for us -- and we don't care what onlookers think anyway. In fact, our methodology works for us so well that whenever we do fuss at each other, all it takes is five minutes, a little sarcasm and a few well-placed jokes to clear the air.

From Fight to Favor

We are yellers. And I can honestly confess that all three of my girls learned their affinity for yelling from yours truly. I have been (and probably always will be a yeller). I used to be a thrower, but that's a story for another day -- and I have quite the arm. Yet, I have found that (especially while raising teenagers and a preteen), that yelling-it-out and getting all of the poisonous vitriol out of our systems clears the air and sets the stage to actually hash things out far better than the passive-aggressive families I know.

Think of it like a boxing match. We go at it, no holds barred and then retreat to our respective corners (i.e. bedrooms). We take a time out -- before things get too out of control -- and then we come back for round two. The only difference is that instead of hugging it out, we laugh it out instead.

Hashing it Out

Our modus operandi after any argument is to hash out the fight, using sarcasm as our fix all. We talk about what was said or done and then we make fun of ourselves. Five minutes later (sometimes less), we hug, we say our "I love yous" and we go about our day. And while this method might seem strange to you, it has always let my kids know that I'm not perfect, that I'm approachable and that laughter really is the best medicine. There is nothing wrong with a little self-deprecation now and again. I know this, because it's worked for me for over 18-years now.

The Bottom Line

Every family is different. And while mine might not be the warm, fuzzy family that you envision in your head, mine remains real; perfectly imperfect. But from our perfectly imperfect method of going from a fight to post-argument giggles, the relationship I have with my girls has blossomed into something that most mothers I know want to achieve with their teens, but something that also alludes them, because they haven't found a method that works quite yet. That only leads me to believe that the Brady's might not have had all the answers; the Bundy's might have been on to something here.

How do you take things from fight to favor with your brood?

Shauna Zamarripa is a mother of three, author, freelance columnist, money guru and full-time smart aleck. Check out her ramblings on her personal blog, Miss Adventures, her stellar money advice on Penny Pinchers or follow her daily dose of snark on Facebook and Twitter.