November 09, 2010,
M.F. asks from Groves, TX on January 25, 2007
My Daughters Fight Constantly
My daughters, ages 7 and 10 fight all the time. It almost always end up them hurting each other before I even know its happening. They constantly yell at each other and one will hit the other first and then the other hits back (usually harder than the first one) and it makes it hard to know how to discipline them. I've tried everything I can think of. Usually, the one is comes to me crying is the one who hit first and is crying because they got hit back. Tellling them if that if they get hit to come tell me instead of hit back (so I know who to punish)does not work for 2 reasons, they have been told not to "tattle" by their father, who seems to think that "tattle-tells" are UNACCEPTABLE. PERIOD. And, even if they did that at just at home (and not when they go to their dads)it doesn't work because they both have TERRIBLE (USUALLY QUICK) TEMPERS!! I was an only child so I know nothing about sibling rivalry, but everyone I've asked says it is normal. Normal or not, it is a constant source of stress for me. I end up trying to yell loud enough to be louder than their yelling at each other. And, being a single mom with a full time job,this constant stress from their fighting and arguing wears me out. It results in all three of us being unhappy alot of the time. That is not how I want them to grow up. Any suggestions, similar experiences, "light at the end of the tunnel" that anyone could offer would be greatly appreciated.
A.T. answers from Little Rock on January 28, 2007
I am one of 3 girls in my family. We all fought like cats and dogs. I look back and realize it was to get attention. I always thought my older sisters were getting all of the attention. Have you tried to set about seperate special time with each girl? That might help. My dad used to scream at us constantly and that just made up get louder. My sisters and I am really close now. It seems we hated each other when we were all in the same place. Something else that I did when I worked at a daycare was I would reward them for being good. You could always do some kind of chart or something and at the end of the week they get to do something special or get something special if they have behaved all week.
V.B. answers from Alexandria on January 25, 2007
Tell them that they can't do something that they absolutely really want to do the very next time that they argue and you have to stick to it. They have to know you are in control. Let them know how childish it is to continue to fight each other. Try to find out why they are doing this to each other and let them know that it won't be tolerated any longer. Best of luck and may God bless you...they must learn to be kind to one another and to have peace in their home and especially to respect their mother and let you have peace at home.
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B.C. answers from Beaumont on January 26, 2007
I have two step-daughters who were 9 & 11 when I came into the picture. They are now 12 & 14 and they fight constantly! I've come up with some creative ways to punish them. I've made them hold hands for up to 30 minutes while in time out. I've made them run laps around the block to get out there aggression. I've taken computer and/or phone privledges away. I've threatened make them take a bubble bath together or to post horrible pics of them such as when they are sleeping or -gasp- have no make up on and post them on their my space pages (I have both their passwords...). Anything "stupid" that makes them mad at me usually bonds them together. We use a lot of time outs but I haven't found any miracle fix it yet.
G.K. answers from Houston on January 26, 2007
My ex in laws had this same exact problem. And it was bad. I can tell you horror stories about the fights. Now maybe the only difference was that 1 of them was the one who always was meaner!! They would lock each other out of the house. lock each other in the garage. Hit yell cry scream. I seen some bad stuff. This is what finally got it to stop.
1. Set specific rules! when they fought no matter who started it. They took a specific time out. She usually had them sit in seperate room and went in and talked to each of them seperately.
2. Offer alot of praise when they are not fighting and getting along. Maybe say 2 times a month if they can get along maybe take them somewhere.
3. She sat and told each of them how to deal with being angry. Other avenues if you may of expressing anger.
4. She told me 1 time a week they had to do something as a team together, like a chore.
5. SHe printed some articles off the internet about sisters fighting and read them to both girls.
6 They both have ther own spaces. One in which is off limits to the other. So that way they have something that is THEIRS!!
I have seen a 100% turn around. Now they still argue but it is amazing to see 2 young ladies work this out and not hurt one another. And they respect each other fully.
I hope that if you try any of this, it will work.
G.M. answers from Lafayette on January 25, 2007
I feel your pain! My oldest son and middle son used to fight constantly; they literally seemed to hate each other. It didnt help that one is bipolar and the other was ADHD. It got to be even worse when I left my ex husband. I had to get between their fist fights and it wasn't fun. The psychiatrist told me not to do that agin to let them fight because I'd end up getting hurting, I couldnt just let it go on though. He also told me that once they turned 17-18 they'd be best friends, well what if I dont live that long! Like someone else said outside of that if another kid picked on one of them they'd run to each other defense. What I would do is..we would have family night and play games or even volleyball things in the yard, I'd make them be on the same team, that way they had to work together to win. I would make them sit in the living room together, TV off until they apologized to each other. It wasn't until my oldest son suffered a brain injury that they finally started to get along, so Im not much help as far as what really works getting them to become the best of friends. But maybe during family time or games or something getting them to work at something as a team might help some. If they have to work together to win or finish something it may actually be a step to getting along. Good Luck
E.H. answers from Tyler on January 26, 2007
I wish there was a chill pill for your daughters behavior.
My only advise is for all you three take a nice vacation or a weekend project or even play a game where you'll have to depend on each other to win a game or accomplish a task. Let'em see the importance of working or having fun as a team supporing and encouraging each other!
Both your daughters just need to realize that they are equally precious, sensitive and important, and you're only ONE mom.
Also, a rule of thumb, Do NOT allow name calling for any reason whatsoever. When if it gets too much, give each a time out. Make them put into writting their frustration. When they calm down make them right all the positives attibutes they think they pocessed and what attributes the other sister has, and then as a wise mother highlight the positive about each other........then tell them "that's why I don't understand your behavior at times and makes me sad, and the "fighting" wares me out." Tell them "what do you want me to do to stop the fighting" (make them write it!!). When they grow up and have their own children (give their advise back to them, so) they too can share motherhood experience with themselves and pat themselves on the back!
Most importantly, This too shall pass!
M.N. answers from Little Rock on January 26, 2007
You and my best friend seem to have something in common. This too shall pass. I sat them down (they are my Goddaughters) and talked with them about how their hard their Mom works to provide for them and how hurtful it is for her to hear them being awful to each other because they are all she's got and about how someday hopefully a long time from now, they would be the only family each other had. It did give them some perspective for that weekend. God Bless you and your girls.
D. answers from Baton Rouge on January 25, 2007
Well, my sister and I fought constantly!!!! And it was a HUGE stress for my Mom... my Dad would let us fight it out until one or both of us was bleeding. By the time we got into HS we were best of friends (and still are)... but still had knock down drag out (punching) fights even through college because: 1) Your supposed to kick your sister's @ss 2) We were together all of the time and got on each other's nerves and 3) You just know that eventually your sister will forgive you.... sounds peachy and normal right???!!
Well, I have three daughters(10,9 and 3)... the oldest two are 16 months apart.
So... the two oldest FIGHT CONSTANTLY AND I WANT TO KILL THEM! You can sit around all day saying stupid things like: Your sister was your first best friend and you should love each other.... blah, blah, blah!!!! It's pointless... they are sisters, they do love each other, BUT they most likely get on each other's nerves and unfortunately KNOW exactly what to say to the other one to tick them off and/or hurt them the most. Heck... mine do it to each other just because they are BORED!
The only time I have peace in the house is when I separate them. At first that was very hard because they shared a room.. now that they each have their own room... it is much better. I don't even ask questions anymore... I don't care who started it... I don't care who said what... or even who hit who (unless someone is bleeding)... I just tell them both to go to their rooms and I don't want to see or hear them until they can act like decent human beings!!!!
But you know what... and you probably see this with yours... if anyone at school or in the neighborhood picks on them... that is their @ss... the other one does not hesitate to defend them... after all that is what sister's are for!!!
Hope that helps.... Oh... one other thing... my Dad use to 'tie' us together (opposite of separating,haha) and make us do chores while we were together... we HAD to get along in order to get it done... if not... out came the belt. Can't do that anymore... someone might call CPS!!!
K.M. answers from Dallas on January 25, 2007
I have read a few good ideas. Ask both of them to get something special of theirs. You tell them that they are to watch, protect, and take care of their sister's item for a week. After a week, if they have done this, they can have a treat. Make the treat something they like, but have to do together, like make chocolate sundays or something together. Also have them help each other. If one is good in math, privately tell her that her sister is needing some help with math. Tell her that you know how good she is at math, but that her sister might not want help. So ask her to see if she can find a way to help her sister where her sister doesn't really notice. This will get her looking for times to help her sister. Do the same for the other sister. Just find ways that they can appreciate the other. Make it worth their while to help their sister. Or anothr idea is to give each of them a sticker chart, jar of marbles, or what ever, and tell them to catch their sister doing something good. Everytime they do, they tell you and you reward them with a sticker/marble. After so many, they get a treat.
Hope this helps,