I bet my last nickel that anyone with children goes through a thousand maybe a million negotiations of shotgun– the claim to ride in the front seat! When together, my three almost 30-year-olds still do it!

Origins of “shotgun” referred to gun-carrying guards riding alongside stagecoaches to ward off robbers. Later in the US, via Hollywood, shotgun referred to traveling in a car’s front passenger seat.

Today I saw a masterful handling of all that from a single dad raising four children, a girl age 4, a boy 7 and twin girls 9.  As they approached the car, the dad says, “who gets shotgun?” and there were four different strong opinions offered (of course) but the dad remembered and firmly reminded.  In they went without a fuss.  He nailed the shotgun dilemma because he took the time to track it himself. Brilliant!

How easily I was talked in and out of things by my firstborn son, Matthew!  How quickly he learned to be like a lion ready for the pounce if he saw me waiver or be a split second indecisive.  I see this dynamic a lot in boys with their mothers, especially mothers who are more soft-spoken and have avoid-conflict-type personalities.    Be firm or they will pounce and wear you down until you say yes!

Be firm and make language and writing a fun family activity.   Do a word search together. Keep a word search booklet in your car.  Kids can easily learn to love word searches.  It helps grow vocabulary and concentration. Another game before dinner, pick a random alphabet letter, set the timer, and see who can make the longest list of words beginning with that letter while dinner is cooking. One more…. take the word S-H-O-T-G-U-N and see how many words you can find using the letters in any order.   Stay firm and stay humorous.  It helps maintain sanity.  One day your children will grow into amazing adults in spite of the millions of challenges they “gift” to you growing up!