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Family Feuding: Fighting as a Team, Part 2
Part 2: Communication and Formation.
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Introduction
• Part 2: Forms and Calls
• Part 3: Fighting

Sun Tzu said that victory is dependent on forms and calls; that is, formations and communications. When fighting as a team, both are essential for success.


Decide on key code phases that tell family members to fight or run. Choose words that are easy for the kids to remember and understand, even when shouted under stress or voiced in a hoarse stage whisper.

One of these phrases can be used as an identity check if someone tries to masquerade as "mommy's friend". If someone approaches your child and says, "Come with me, your mommy asked me to pick you up," they can challenge the stranger to supply the family password--if they don't say it immediately, the child is to run, screaming for help.

Code phrases work best when they're something the children know but strangers won't be able to guess--like the name of a favorite teddy bear, or a child's pet word for an event or thing. Since the phrase could even be made-up words from the kid's early years, it's doubtful that a stranger would be able to think one up that matches.


Sun Tzu said that battles are won or lost because of formations, and they are even more important when your fighting team has different ability levels.

Position your best fighters to meet the immediate threat. Know where the kids are at all times! You don't want them to run blindly into an attacker, or have a bad guy land on them when you execute an aikido throw.

As when fighting with a partner, you might want to maintain physical contact with your kid so you'll know where he/she is. Place them behind you at arm's length, ready to run if told to. You might want to hold on to the child's shirt or collar, so that you really know where they are.

This positional strategy is even more important when wielding a weapon, such as a lawfully carried firearm or pepper spray. Having the kids behind you ensures that they don't get shot accidentally. You also don't want your kids to suffer too much from the noise of the gunshots, or from the fringes of the pepper spray. However, if the altercation is severe enough to warrant shooting, the side-effects of your defensive response are minimal compared to what your attacker might have done to them.


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