Bitten by the Bicker Bug: Battling Summer’s Most Ferocious Beast

I know they say “pride goeth before a fall” — but I’m gonna dive headfirst anyway.  I am one proud citizen of Colorado Springs and I’m not afraid to shout it from the rafters.  Not only do we  live at the base of Pikes Peak, our city boasts beautiful Garden of the Gods, the Air Force Academy, Colorado College (go Tigers!), and a kick-butt team of first responders that battled Mother Nature’s blazes for days.

Despite the obvious things that draw many a transplant to visit or inhabit our fair city, one fact in particular may outweigh them all.

We have NO bugs.  Okay, okay, one might see the occasional fruit fly or a brief infestation of miller moths, but for all intents and purposes we are 99% bug free.

Seriously.  Can I get a witness?

Summer evenings spent sipping cocktails on the back patio are lovely. (Not entirely sure the last time that actually happened at our house, but a girl can dream!)  One can relax and not have to expose offending under-arm jiggle while waving away mosquitoes or cringe at unsightly roaches fleeing from the light.

Although we don’t have to spray our bodies or our houses with flesh-eating pesticides and chemical sprays before enjoying summer’s delights, there is one bug in particular to which we are not immune.

The bicker bug.

Whether you have a baker’s dozen or one little cherub under your roof, this bug is alive and well.  Heaven knows a Mama can have it out with just one sweet child just as easily as siblings can pick on each other until you just want to grab your car keys and pull a “Thelma and Louise”.  Where two or more are gathered….

As I swapped out the cutie patootie changeable ABC Scripture cards I bought from my new-found friend, Courtney DeFeo of, I had to chuckle at the one I most recently pinned to my kitchen backsplash:

You two can be inspired by her classy cards!

“Do everything without complaining or arguing.”  Really??  Come the end of July, my Mama patience meter has grown wearily thin on this front.

The most minor of infractions illicit incessant tattles and tales.  Sometimes before their little feet ever hit the floor in the morning!  And, don’t get me started about our tiny tribe running errands together or attempting to get out of the house to do something “fun.”  Heaven forbid we’d all enjoy the same activity!

So, this is where you come in…

I’m dying to know your tried and true secrets of battling the bicker bug.  And, I must observe my due diligence in confessing that I am perhaps one of your most difficult clients.

I am not crafty Mommy.  She battles the bug by keeping her little ones happily covered in glitter and glue.

I am not 24/7 playtime Mommy either.  She engages with tickles, Twister, and packages of Twinkies all day long.

Lord knows I certainly can’t afford to send my little rascals off to zoo camp every day to engage with other species of animals.

So, what’s a normal, average, everyday, work-a-day Mama to do?

I’d love to hear your ideas for a stress free, bug free, bicker free summer.  Is such a thing possible? Short of shipping them all off to separate sleep-away camps, which is a viable option given enough expendable dough if I went back to work full-time (again, all options are being considered!), I’d love to be inspired by y’all.

PS — The bottle of crisp Cabernet in the forefront of the picture above may or may not be a particular coping mechanism for this Mama.


  1. oh my word. you crack me up. i am normal. i like craft for 3 minutes. i like candy and fun for another 3 minutes. i try it all and mine bicker too. love the “bicker bug” phrase. our house is swarming! i’m a fan of redirecting. moving locations. up to the playroom. off to target. drive through for a sweet tea for mom. whatever yanks them apart for that task or environment. i’m TRYING to have them learn to just play in separate areas with a timer for x amount. or color beside while i “work” or check Facebook (ha!) for x minutes. i think you’re awesome and so glad we met. thanks for the shoutout. i also have a babysitter every wednesday for four hours because mid-week i come “unglued”. thank you very much.


    • Crissy says:

      Love it! We’re very familiar with the “bicker bug” too! It feels like the bicker bug arises in our house the more Mama has to accomplish. 🙂 It seems that the best thing that works for us is changing things up and having variety in our day. I’ll be excited to hear more ideas from your other responses!


  2. Kylie white says:

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said it this summer “let’s try that again with kindness!” and the kids have to re-do the argument with kind words. Now we’ve shortened to try it again and it usually works unless it’s in the middle
    Of an all out brawl. We have also instituted this summer asking for some “me” time if the person is bothering you you can ask for some personal time alone in your room to refresh. That bug strikes us all. Even here in nc!


  3. Kara says:

    Oh, I know where you’re coming from! Today I told my kids that if I heard them say, “Stop it!” to each other one more time, they would each go to their beds. May have been an idle threat… I closed the door and turned on the radio in the kitchen!

    We don’t have separate rooms, but I send them to their beds for rude comments, arguments, etc. And if I hear one asking another to stop something more than once, I intervene before it gets violent. It’s so hard to know who really is at fault.

    A silly little thing we started this summer was ‘happy sticks’ and ‘sad sticks’. They each decorated three popsicle sticks for each category, and have a little jar to keep them in. They earn happy sticks for serving one another, being exceptionally kind or giving–anything above and beyond ‘normal duties’ of obedience, etc. ‘Sad sticks’ are earned for any rude words, bad attitudes or disobedience. We decided that it takes three sticks to earn a reward or punishment. But the truth is, we haven’t even given out any rewards or punishments since the first week (a consequence of travel and strange schedules). But the immediate reward of putting a tangible stick in a jar has re-set the atmosphere toward one of giving instead of demanding. I don’t know if your kids would go for it. I’m surprised that our 10-year-old did! But I really believe that rewarding what you want and punishing what you don’t is the key to a lot of behaviors!


  4. Susan Howell says:

    You have such a gift with words! I love reading your thoughts AND listening when you speak! I just try to wear out the kids with physical activity! Swimming and the slip and slide have been great for us this summer. And yes, if at all possible, get together once a week from 3 to 5 with other mommies and let the kids play in the yard. Chardonnay is optional!:)


  5. katiebrase says:

    The bicker bug. We no nothing about it. Huh. We are 100% bicker bug free.
    Um. Right.
    I know that I need these tips too. Very much so! One thing that sorta helps is when we get outside in part, each day. Not a total solution, but I think it helps a bit….


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