Fighting Between Kids

Updated on January 02, 2008
D.R. asks from San Antonio, TX
12 answers

I am wondering in anyone out there has any new ideas to help curb the fighting between a son and daughter. When they do well together they do great, but it only takes the slightest thing and it ends up in a screaming, fighting, hitting, kicking, biting type fight. I separate them and put them into their respective rooms, but then even if I shut the doors, they sit there and continue to verbally attack each other from the cracks under their doors. The arguments occur anywhere from once a day to me having to ground them in their rooms for the entire day because they just won't stop. Both kids are in therapy and see a psychiatrist for their ADHD because it also affects their school behavior and I realize that the impulsivity of the ADHD in each of them contributes to the rivalry fighting some, but I don't remember fighting with my sister this much as a kid, and I don't know anyone else that has this happen as frequently as I feel it happens here. Any ideas or thoughts would be appreciated.

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answers from Austin on

There is a total transformation program, but it is around $100 or so. I think you can sign up from their website to get newsletters via email which always have tips. I think you would find very helpful a recent one covering consequnces for habitual fighting with sibs. If you can, email me at [email protected] and I can forward that to you.

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answers from Houston on


Both my kids(older boy & younger girl) are 4 years apart & have ADHD. They're a bit older than your too now. When my son was 9, he was extremely impatent and my daughter being 5 was extremly inquizative. I do have to say that some of what you're going through is the age. The younger one will think, "Gee what will happen if I take his lightsaber and tap it on his door alot while he's trying to read?!" (when what she's doing is wanting attention to play with him, he just blows up! He figured that out and taught her to play some of his favorite video games and now they're inseprable. He'll even play Barbie's with her at times!

The other thing I've done for both kids is to do some research into what foods can set kids with ADHD "off". I got a book called The Kid Friendly ADHD Cookbook by Pamela Compart & Dana Laake. My son's meds were cut in 1/2 and he slept sooo much better. My daughters speech improved so drastically the teachers took notice. When they had something that wasn't on their diet, they both told me they felt the "crawly bugs" come back. It has been a big effort, but the difference it has made in our home is truly amazing! It's now calm instead of chaos! Sounds like with a hubby working all the time, you could use a little calm, so it may be worth at least looking into and considering. It's been 18 months since I've started feeding the kids this way so if you do want to do this, I'll be glad to help out by answering questions. There's even a u-tube mom that has cooking demo's on this style of diet!

Good luck,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

How many times I heard, "Mom!..." and "Yeah but he started it!", etc. When mine were fighting and they tried to get me involved to take sides, my response to them was always this question, "What happens to a referee who steps in between two fighters in the ring?" They knew the answer: "He gets clobbered." I never interfered because they have to learn to work things out...UNLESS their fighting was bothering me or causing me time and trouble to deal with the fallout. At that point, I swiftly took away whatever they were fighting about (usually gave it away to goodwill or threw it out forever) and immediately punished them both. But I also made it clear I was always available to discuss issues they are having with each other - at such time when they were both civil and willing to negotiate - not when things were most heated. The talking stick worked well then. Whoever holds the stick (ours was a wooden spoon) while talking, must be heard out and not interrupted by the others, then must pass the stick and in turn listen without interrupting. Kids must learn the art of negotiating! Its so valuable throughout life, in business and in personal.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have this problem but I have 5 kids. My 13 yr old was diagnosed with adhd 9 yrs ago. Meds and counseling did not help much. Just recently he was diagnosed as Bipolar and with new meds is is a hole different kid. With that said I will tell you 2 things that work in our house. Dont send them to their room make them do nice things for each other and the other is for them to lose something like tv privleges or something they like doing for 1 day when they are fighting. Then when u give it back if the behavior happens again they lose it again for 1 day. Counselors say dont take things away from kids for more than a day or 2 because then they give up.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Couple of ideas.

First set some ground rules on what is ok and what is not ok to say to each other, like no name calling, no hitting ect and tell them what the consequences of those will be, like a quarter in the ajr for every name you call or washing the toilet, if you have a dirty mouth you can do a dirty job. YOu can never have too clean a toilet. :)

Then when the nexy time arises, be very calm, don't raise your voice, smile and tell them the consequences. Then follow threw.

If it is something else and they just can't get along, let them fold laundry while holding each others hand so they only have one hand each to fold with, team work!

Or have one sweep and the other move chairs, and hold the dust pan.
Anything that requires team work.

Sometimes when my boys fight I tell them to hug and make up, they say eww and I say, I can make you kiss too. I always get that hug, haha!

Remember there is never an excuse for bad behavior, not ADHD, Not tired, not hungry, not sick, nothing so hold them accountable! And then be consistant, let them know you are done letting them hurt each other and that there is a new sheriff in town ;)



answers from Amarillo on

My mother had 5 kids, her strategy was to send us to our rooms until the one we were fighting with agreed to let us out and vice versa. I think it worked pretty good, we were stuck in our rooms until we were "friends" again and willing to let eachother out. We usually came out a little upset but willing to play again soon.



answers from New London on

If they are fighting over stuff, take it away. If they do not behave, keep them in their rooms during dinner. Make sure they do not have computers, tv's, other fun stuff to play with in their room so it feels like punishment. Be consistant and diligent. I teach my children to behave, to be courteous, and if they do not, they get priveleges taken way, or have added chores. It is a bit of a struggle at first, then they realize that we mean business, and it begins to work. Model good behavior for them, sit down to dinner, limit tv, try to do things as a family, even during the times your husband is away. Do things outside as a family, giving them time to run, and play in the great outdoors. Go for walks together after dinner, sit outside and talk. I find when my kids are whild,m going outside makes a big difference. Go to the park, walk along a hiking trail, ride bikes together. Make sure you are both supportive and committed to the same goals so that they hear the same thing from both of you. Set up routines in your home that encourage them to see their part in working together as a family. Do not allow bad behavior. It will take time and effort on your part, but in the end, it will pay off.



answers from Dallas on

Give them a BIG shock, and take all of their things. Let them know that they have to be more respectful before they get any of their things back. When you see them doing something positive, let them pick one thing at a time to get back.

Good Luck!



answers from Houston on

Let them know the consequenses for different behaviours at a time when no one is in trouble. That way they know what to expect. If you hear one child say something to the other that is not appropriate, then start right there and remind him/her how they should speak to each other. For example, my 7 year old gets bossy and yells at his little brother when he gets frustrated. I remind him to ask nicely for his toy back instead of yelling...if he can't keep his calm, I remind him again and let him know the consequence if I hear him speaking disrespectfully. Then I follow through with the consequence if he does not change his attitude. He may get sent to his room until he is calm and ready to appologize in a sincere way to his brother. Even my two year old has to appologize if he hits or is mean to someone. He knows how to ask for a toy by saying please instead of grabbing it...of course he needs a few extra reminders because of his age! Good luck to you and be consistant. It will seem like a lot of work at first, but stay calm and they learn fast. I have had an in-home daycare in the past and worked at an elementary school and this really will help as long as you are consistant and give appropriate punishments.



answers from San Antonio on

Have you tried taking them to church. One of my friends was having a similiar problem and she found one of those very charismatic churches with a great youth program. It's kind of like a brainwashing into being nice. Good luck.



answers from Dallas on

I heard some great advice for this once and I've tried it with my two with great success. Put them in the SAME room with instructions not to come out until they've settled their differences. Of course, mine are 2 and 4, so I tell them, "You may come out when you're hugging, not hitting."

You could also send them into the backyard. This cold weather should have them getting along in no time!

I think the idea behind this method is that the point of their fighting is to get you involved in their business. As soon as you disengage yourself from the situation, they've lost their reason to bicker.

Of course, you need to consider what they would do to each other if left alone together. I don't know if I'd try it if you think serious bodily harm could happen. Scrapes and bruises? I might let that slide, as awful as it sounds. You might come up with consequences for their actions while they are "negotiating their differences." A 9 yr-old's allowance should be enough to cover the cost of bandaids and neosporin, and she is big enough to be a "medical assistant" and change out ice packs, serve hot chocolate to her injured brother, etc. A 5 yr old might need to sell some of his toys at a re-sale shop to pay for replacing his sister's broken lamp, etc.

Basically, make the altercation THEIR business, not YOURS. If it's their business, they learn to solve their own problems and that their actions have real consequences. When it's YOUR business, they get your very frustrated attention and you get a headache.



answers from San Antonio on

I have 3 younger sisters and we fought all the time, now that we are older we get along great. My mom just made us work out our differences ourselves. But i know how you feel i have a son who has adhd, and sometimes it can get "crazy" between him and his brother, but it is too hard to seperate them or to explain to them not so much the older one but the baby is only 16mths., the only thing i can say is to hang in there, and try to let them work out their differences. my son is also in play therapy and that has helped out tremindiously, that may be something to consider for your kiddos if it isnt something they do already. Hope this helps and best of luck!!

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