Kids Fighting Constantly

Updated on October 18, 2013
K.A. asks from Indianapolis, IN
12 answers

I have a 6 year old daughter and 7 year old son. They have always been good playmates but have their occasional sibling rivalries and fights from time to time. However, recently their fighting has become constant. It starts from the moment they wake up and continues the moment they are picked up from school. We have tried different forms of punishment, time-outs, priveleges revoked, but nothing seems to be working. Today I told them they will have to start paying me money for every fight I break up and each of them handed over a dollar before we even left the house for school. I am at my wits end. It's causes our mornings to be stressful and I hate starting their day like that. Are any other moms dealing with this? Any suggestions on how to bring the peace back in our home would be appreciated. We have no major changes lately and they have a very strict bedtime through the week. So I don't believe sleep deprivation is the issue.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I know you're not likely to read a book but I strongly recommend

Siblings Without Rivalry!

Much of it is cartoon form. Please it will change the way you respond to the fights so they lose the interest in fighting.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

Ha! Sorry, I had to laugh at them giving you a dollar! Someday that will be funny to you, I know it's not now!

Keeping them busy with chores may be your only option. You see, money is not their currency, ironically. Time outs are more frustrating for younger kids. Apparently, they can find other things to do so taking away privileges does not work. Time for a different tactic.

I always have baseboards to clean. Bathrooms to scrub. Vacuuming to do.
Cars to clean out. Dusting to do. Laundry to fold. Intake vents to clean. Weeds to pull, leaves to rake.

The first smart word out of someone's mouth- make the punishment count. You can't start small and work your way up because their behavior will just escalate. Start BIG. Look around your house and have a plan.
You can give them a heads up on the way home. Make a chore chart.

It's an either or, chart. Either Get along or go clean.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

No, they probably aren't sleep-deprived. They're probably hooked on quarreling. It's easy to get hooked on; adults do it all the time.

At least try the hand-holding business. When they start bickering the daylights out of you, have them hold hands and put a puzzle together (holding hands). They'll very likely start blaming each other for this cruel and unusual punishment, because that's their default mode right now. Extend the time.

After they have to do it six times in a week, they may decide it's not worth the trouble to blame one another for it. Then read them - aloud, with great expression - the story, "The Fighter-Quarrelers Cure," from Betty McDonald's MRS. PIGGLE-WIGGLE (which you have already borrowed, with great foresight, from the library).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Mine are 10 & 11, girl & boy. They are either best friends or fighting with each other, there is no in between.

I recommend iAllowance. I got the app, then set up a star system for chores. So many stars for a reward; 50 for a sleepover, 10 for dessert, 10 for Mom to eat lunch at school, etc etc. I also put negative 'chores'; arguing -2 stars, disobedience -1 star, talking back -1 star, etc etc. If they get 5+ negative stars in a day they owe me $1 - which I take out of their virtual allowance also managed in the app. Love this app.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Separate them.

One gets ready while one eats and then switch.

Alternatively, just stop breaking it up and let them work it out.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Nothing worked for my sister and I till we grew up and moved away from each other.
We are just not compatible and we can not stand each other.
To this day we can't be in the same room for 15 minutes before a fight breaks out.
Separate them as much as possible.
Separate corners/separate rooms/separate floors if your house has several.
Common areas are demilitarized zones.
They don't have to love or even like each other but they have to be as polite as they would be to any stranger off the street.
They might warm up to each other eventually or they might not but it's up to them if/when they do.
This isn't something you can control.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Separate them. They don't need to do everything together, and they don't need to share, and they don't need to be in the same room at the same time.

My boys are a year and a half apart in age and very close friends. Even they will argue when they've had too much time together. I used to have to tell them to separate, but now they're old enough to separate on their own when they've had enough of one another.

This will pass. It's normal.

Also, it's important that you teach them to speak to one another respectfully and kindly. Rude words like "Shut up," or "I hate you," or screaming or hitting or anything else that one adult wouldn't say or do to another should not be allowed in the home.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wichita Falls on

I grew up with a brother only 2 years older than me, and we fought like cats and dogs. The only thing that would stop us would be being forced to be nice to each other. We sat on the couch holding hands for 10 to 15 mins at a time. I have also seen "together" shirts (large adult tee both wear, each kid gets one arm). That strongly encouraged us to leave each other alone, or at least keep the fighting quiet.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My two who are five years apart have been the same way lately (must be something in the air) They got bad enough one day I forced them to sit on the floor facing each other and hold hands. Needless to say they have only been that nasty to each other once. They start I threaten to do it again and they stop.



answers from Cleveland on

a few thoughts.

money isn't my kids currency they have started getting an allowance and to them even at 8 ad 10 its just colored paper, they know they can get stuff with it but we don't give them the opportunity to spend it often enough for it to really be real yet. I know tha tsounds odd but just how it is with them.

The suggestions for the "get along shirt' or to hold hands or to clean sound great but I think you have to have kids with certain temperments for that to work. Even in a great mood, my kids could never scrub the kitchen floor, even if they wanted to do it,they would only do it for 5 mins before the "i'm done" would start and then if I pointed out that they needed to finish another square foot more the whining would escalate and even if I tried to force them to finish it it would be punishment for me not them. what a serious time suck I prefer to work it like help for as long as you can because after the point that theydon't want to help any more it isnt' teaching them to clean it's just a power struggle. and I don't want them to hate cleaning and view it as a punishment.

separate time outs generally work for us. then usually after a bit they are happy to be together again.

and having them go to separate friends houses or to separate activities is good, I would take it a step farther and say I know I personally need to be better about spending time with the 2 of them separately and then also together.

boredom could be part of it, maybe plan something fun for them to look forward to.

And lastly, did you see HUGE Harvest moon tonight? seriously that can cause some crazy crazy crazy behavior in kids and adults!


answers from Grand Forks on

My boys are really close, but they also fight. For me the key is to make sure that they have enough time apart from one another. Send one to play at a friends house while the other has a friend over. Sports and extracurricular activities on separate days and times. Different summer camps. I let them each bring a friend on outings. Times like mornings when we are rushing and they tend to get on each others nerves I have one eat while the other gets dressed. One gets his jacket on and waits outside while the other gets his jacket on.


answers from Chicago on

What are they fighting about? Is it just bickering? Are they fighting over who gets the bathroom first? TV shows, computer? Are they name calling (you're stupid!), or getting physical? Are feelings being hurt? Is there crying?

I'd say stay out of it unless they are name calling or getting physical. Remind them that you treat everyone with respect - no matter how hard that is! If it's a timing conflict, set a schedule with timer.

It's probably more annoying to you than it is to them. My 3 kids bicker a lot, I only interfere when they name call or hurt each other physically. The girls like to pinch each other. Sometimes, I think they just do it for show or that they are bored. Picking a fight livens things up (in their minds).

Good luck!

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