Help! My Teen Girls Fighting Is Coming Between Me and My Husband!!

Updated on March 23, 2011
N.G. asks from Bloomington, IN
12 answers

I have 2 daughters, 15 1/2 and 13 who are CONSTANTLY fighting! I have tried everything I can think of but nothing seems to stop it! The older one runs to Dad, the younger one runs to me. I try to stay out of the fights (which is prob why the older runs to dad.) Especially seeing as its never about anything substantial anyways. Its usually the 13 year old annoys the 15 year old by everything she does and then tries to correct and control her younger sister. (not saying my 13 yo is not annoying because she is! But most of the time its nothing more than her being herself (a normal 13 yo and Not hurting anyone.) I usually just tell them to stop fighting because there is nothing more that can be done and when my youngest comes to me I tell her to work on herself because she cant change her sister. We have had family meetings about respecting each others feelings but it just seems to go in one ear and out the other. Im SOOO sick of the fighting and mostly my husband defending the 15 yo! They are BOTH eqally at fault! I've come to the realization that if this doesn't stop, my husband and I are going to end up in divorce court! Any advice is appreciated!

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answers from Dallas on

Dad definitely needs to get out of it. This is normal behavior. My younger brother annoyed me greatly and nothing my parents did made it better. I finally learned to ignore him or I found my own way to fight back.
If the fighting is driving you crazy, send them to separate rooms.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Anchorage on

My sister and I are 2 years apart and we fought all the time. Anytime we hurt each other or brought our parents into it we both went to our rooms. It did not matter who started it or who did what, we were both punished equal, and it made us much less likely to involve mom and dad in our drama.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I agree w/LMB below: you and dad need to pull out. Save your energy and pick your battles. Admittedly, you said these are not big deal things. Don't allow them to escalate and pull in the entire family. Lay some ground rules to enforce and otherwise, keep your cool and calmly tell them "I'm sorry, but you girls need to learn how to treat each other respectfully. If you can't do that, you need stay away from each other. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Rudeness will not be tolerated in this family, so we won't be going anywhere or doing anything until we learn to treat others with patience and respect."

Of course, you and dad will have to model this for them as well so they really get it and it isn't an abstract concept.

These are life skills: the ability to negotiate and communicate in a calm manner are crucial for success in any situation - job, school, etc. Remind them that there will ALWAYS be difficult people in life - they could end up working for one! - so they need to learn how to respond appropriately.

For the record, I fought terribly w/my two sisters while we all lived under the same roof. Once I went off to college, the dynamics shifted dramatically and we became far more appreciative of each other (same was true for my relationship w/mom!) Perhaps they need some more space from each other? Regardless, learning how to resolve conflict -or avoid it altogether- is something they can gain from this.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Totally normal. My mother told us, "no yelling in the house" and she "did not want to hear about any of it". If we did scream, fight, try to tattle to her whatever, she grounded us to our rooms.

She had a zero policy.

Thank goodness I got to go off to college!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

You cant let them run you and your husband just because they are fighting. If you are staying out of it, then Dad needs to too. Both need to take steps back and let them hash it out. If its really important then they can both come to you and discuss it calmly one at a time, but other than that, stay out of it. Kids will be kids, i'd tell them go outside if you want to fight and make racket but I dont want to listen to it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Youngstown on

If you ever get to hear Dr. Ray Guarendi speak, DO IT! He makes things like this sound HILARIOUS.. you'll laugh half of the talk at least!

Don't let it get you down.. we used to make our girls hug and say I love you to each other when they fought.. I think THAT worked.. they never fight anymore! lol

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Victoria on

Well when my two go throught similar stuff, only they are 5&6, i handle it this way.... as soon as one comes whining or tattling about the other, i ask the following who is hurt? what is broken? when they say nobody, then i inform them that i really don't need to know about it, but if they choose to involve me, then how I feel is that they have entirely too much time on their hands and that they both need to clean their rooms along with the bathroom and then perhaps spend 30 mintues or so on their handwriting skills and then they will be too tired to pick pick pick at each other and I can get some peace so it will be a win win for all. Then I smile sweetly then ask if they want me to get involved or do they want to handle it on their own? So far, they have chosen to handle it on their own and only once has it gone so far that i had to interveen and then i followed through and they were none too happy. I do have husband back me up that i do not want to add referee to my job titles and so this is what it is. They need to learn these skills since bosses are not gonna sstep in for tiffs with co workers etc... They need to learn to pick their battles and how to compromise or walk away.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

You and your husband need to be on the same page and on the same team. All of you should talk and set some ground rules on treating each other with kindness and respect etc. Set boundaries and if there is fighting then there should be a consequence. Time-outs and groundings work great regardless of the age. I've put my teens in the corner like their younger siblings and grounded them from computer, phones and TV and that worked wonders. Amazing attitude changes and the fighting mysteriously disappeared too. This maybe normal but it's unacceptable. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Why is dad taking only the 15 yo side? What ever is the reason, I would first work in bring back our marriage because sister would fight on and off but is important that you and your husband are in the same page.
Set the rules with him, put them on paper.
-When my kids fight (the are 13 and 2 and yes they fight too, lol) I put them apart and don't let her be toegther for a couple hours, they normally have to sneak to get together, now maybe yours would not try to get together as much as mine, and that is ok, they can be appart if the want to.
Maybe try his way and if that doesn't work try yours or what ever is that the both of you agree.

Some times they have to fight and that is ok, but you need to take care of your marriage, at the end they will married and you and your husband will be left in that house.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Let Dad know exatly how you feel. Let him know that his sticking up for the 15 yo is causing the 13 to be jeaous which in turn causes more friction.

Take the girls out separately, shopping, mani, lunch, whatever. Have just some mom and me time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

There are wonderful classes available to adults and teens that teach communication techniques and conflict resolution skills that can be used to promote healthy relationships. If you can't find one for the teens, you and your husband could take one and then teach the girls through example and explain how this is the new way we will be handling conflict around here from now on. Otherwise it sounds like their poorly developed ways of communicating will continue to spill over and disrupt the family life. Go to There are some one day workshops on Saturdays, and I think one of those is a great place to start!
I hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I know you said you had family meetings. But.. its time for another one.
Time for the ENTIRE family, to sit down and have a Family meeting.
Make it a monthly thing. Liked or not.

Use the time to iron out problems, talk it out, come up with Solutions, to emphasize that they are the kids and YOU are the parents, to allow them to give their take on things too, etc.
Also discuss what is coming up for the family, budget, responsibilities, and anything THEY need to contribute to and chores etc.

It has to be done, together.
Emphasize, what "family" is, and your expectations.

have them write down everyday, THREE things that they did for each other or you/Hubby, FOR the family.

I would not reward them with things or money.
Because, these are intrinsic parts of character and family, that a child needs to learn.

Kids will fight.
But if it was like me and one of my siblings, it will not get better, unless, the ENTIRE family is on the same page.

IF, one sibling is CHRONIC in causing trouble, then maybe you even have to get Counseling for that child.
One of my siblings, constantly picked on me and then lied and/or manipulated my parents about it. Real conniving sibling. It was chronic. It is then therefore, TOXIC to the other sibling.
So.. you NEED to recognize.. .if this is normal sibling problems, or one of them really having, a behavioral issue.... that needs addressing.
So, for me, that is why I am suggesting this. Because, with that sibling of mine, it was not normal sibling fighting... she has a real problem against me and had other issues.

Instead of having family meetings about 'respecting' each other and since they do not listen to 'lectures', make the meetings about what YOU want them to do and not do. Make "laws for the family"... and then consequences. Even putting it down on a poster-board, tacked up in the kitchen.

Since they know, that these family meetings are futile for you and Daddy... then sure, they KNOW you will give up on it.
So don't give up on it.

In sibling fights... there is usually one that is a "Bully"... and the other one is being constantly hammered and because the "Bully" sibling is naturally more manipulative.. then that one will manage to manipulate the situation and their 'blame' to the other sibling.
So you have to be, smarter than them.

What you may have is a bully and a picked-on sibling.

OR, you have a sibling that is taking of the pretended position, of always being "innocent" when they darn well know, they are not.

AND, your kids KNOW.. that you and your Husband, are on opposite sides. Not on the same page about it.
THAT is the problem, too.

You and Hubby, have to just tell them the way it is.
And you can't let them manipulate you or pit you against your husband and visa versa.

Perhaps, you should ALL, go to Family counseling with a Therapist.

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