Monday, July 12, 2010

Can't I just let them fight it out?

Guest post on Sane Moms

How do you handle fighting in your house?

I know all kids fight.  I know we can't stop it completely.  But some days I feel like I should be wearing a black and white striped outfit and a whistle around my neck.  My kids are both very strong willed and spirited.  My daughter is 5, extremely dramatic and wants a lot of space.  My son is 3 and is unusually physically active.  All he wants to do is sit on top of her.  What they want from each other is so completely opposite that we can't seem to find a common ground.  Some days I don't know what else to say, I sound like a broken record.  I feel like I have tried it all...

I explain to my kids that we are a kind family.  We don't hurt each other.  Brothers and sisters are supposed to protect each other.  They can recite how they should treat each other beautifully, but no 
carry over.

Off limits
We have designated "special toys" and special areas of the house that are off limits to the other sibling.  They break the rules themselves as they give each other permission to come on over or play and then fight about it.

Time outs
I tried time outs both in corners and in their seperate rooms.  They don't care.

Sticker charts
We have implemented sticker charts for "getting along" where the kids can earn rewards for kind behavior.  No luck!

Taking things away
We have had a "fight" bag where every time they fought they would each have to deposit a toy into the bag.  They cry when it goes in, but it hasn't minimized the fighting.

Ignore it
We have done the "fight it out" method and my daughter knocked four of my son's teeth out at a 90 degree angle in a matter of 10 seconds ( I never use this method anymore).

I tell them if they talk to other people this way they will not have any friends to play with.  I also tell them how their fighting hurts their mom and dad.  This doesn't work!

We have read countless books on getting along and being kind.  They like the books, but no cross over to real life.

We have implemented date nights where each parent will take each child on a seperate date.  Everyone has fun, but as soon as they are together again...ka-pow!

I am at a loss.  What else do other parents do?  What secret ingredient do you have in teaching your children to get along with each other?  Is this something I have to just deal with for the next 15 years???

Please do tell...


  1. We make them sit on the floor/bed/couch, facing each other and holding hands until they stop fighting with each other. It works for them because they either think it's gross or start cracking up, depending on their mood. But more than that, it's entertaining for us!

  2. Stacie,
    I love this idea!!!! It is going to be my new method this week. I already told my husband about it. He said his parents used to make him do this with his siblings and it never worked. They would just try to see who could squeeze the other person's hands harder resulting in another fight. Unfortunately I have these genes running through my children-ha! I am going to give it a try though. Great tip! Thank you so much!