Sibling Bickering

Updated on November 27, 2010
A.F. asks from Columbus, OH
12 answers

My oldest two kids are really good kids.....When they aren't together! They have been at each other lately and it's driving me crazy! Does the sibling bickering ever end? They will find any little reason to argue with each other. One example, when I would be getting them some milk in the morning, they would argue over which cup they wanted, No Mommy! I want the blue cup! Why does he always get the blue cup? So, I bought all of the same colored cups. Now it's, I want the right cup! No! I want the right cup! Ahhhh! Mommy hasn’t had coffee yet!!! Aside from this, they are really good. We talk to them about showing each other they love one another, time outs, grounding if necessary. The discipline is there, they just seem to not like each other lately. Don't get me wrong, it's not every single day. They still have their days where they play and crack up at each other. How can I make them like each other every day?? By the way, our daughter is almost 7 and our son is 4. Please tell me this won’t go on until they move out!

I wanted to add our youngest is good too, he's only 1 so he's not in on the sibling bickering yet! :) We have #4 on the way so I have to get this figured out ASAP!

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So What Happened?

OK, So it doesn't end. I'll just buckle up and enjoy the ride :) Thanks for your posts. I got some good laughs and I'm glad it's not just my kids. I have 4 siblings so grew up with the bickering. I was just hoping there was a solution my Mom didn't figure out. Guess not! :)

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answers from Erie on

My brother (3 yrs older than me) and I used to fight CONSTANTLY when we were younger. Im sorry to say, more than likely they will fight...for a long time. I know my bro and I fought almost daily...even after he went off to college lol. that we're older we are really close. I love him (always have!) sooo much! He would do anything for me and vice versa. least you know there is a light at the end of this loooong tunnel! :)

4 KIDS...Bless you! Good luck with baby on the way!!

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answers from New York on

My sister and I were three years apart and bickered constantly until we were adults. When we were little it was over toys and later clothing and make-up. It's very normal and not a problem unless it turns into bullying. My mother used to get very upset and tell us to "stop" & we would for a day or two... until I spotted her wearing MY sweater!

Honestly, we are the best of friends now and looking back we always were. When you are close in age and in close quarters you are going to annoy eachother. Get them involved in activities that have them separated and allow them each to have different interests.

The funny thing is that I could harass her, but god help you if someone else did! If she called me and needed me tonight, I'd be on the next flight to FL without blinking an eye and she would do the same.

Yup... they will continue to do this until they move out and grow up and probably even then! In fact, when we were home last month I gave her a hard time about what she wore to dinner. Again, as long as it's not physical and not bullying you can only encourage them to use kind words and remember that most likely 80% of the time they are playing and enjoying one another. The "bad times" are the ones that are salient at that moment!

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answers from Tampa on

Hate to tell you this but my girls are 13, 8 & 6 and they still do this. Oh yeah and my dad & his brothers are 70, 68 & 63 and they do it too. :( I tend to send my kids to different rooms as for the cups - I splurged and got ones with their names on it and that solved that problem LOL

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answers from Philadelphia on

It won't go on until they move what I'd like to tell you, but personal experience (my sister and me growing up, as well as my kids right now) indicate that it WILL, in fact, continue until they move out. It doesn't mean they don't love each other, but sharing a home with other people (even close family) means there's going to be occasional bickering. Even the closest siblings I know grew up with fighting and bickering sometimes. I think it's all part of childhood, and how you handle it will teach them very valuable conflict resolution skills. Good luck (to us all!).

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answers from Cincinnati on

I am in the same boat! It drives me crazy. I have a 6 year old daughter and a three year old son. My daughter is a control freak and it drives my 3 year old nuts sometimes!! Sometimes they play nice together but most of the time they don't. I think it is the age difference. When you mentioned the cup ordeal I had to laugh because they do the same thing!! No, I want the purple one or whatever. I also have a 1 year old son (actually 1 1/2) and he also sometimes gets in the mix! I am not used to it because I was an only child but my husband has three other siblings and he said they used to bicker all the time. I don't know that it will ever really go away. I hate to say it but you will probably always be "putting out fires"!!

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answers from Portland on

I doubt that you can "make" them like each other every day. Do you like your husband every day? ;-) Actually, that may not be a good example, because I do like my husband every day. But if I didn't, I doubt that anybody could "make" me.

But I know a few young families who have been more than delighted with the results they get from the book Siblings Without Rivalry, by Faber and Mazlish. I haven't read that one, but a companion book by the same parent coaches is my all-time favorite parenting workshop: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk.

I expect the authors use the same general approach in the Siblings book: help the kids identify what needs they are trying to meet by bickering, and find solutions for themselves (with your help) that have a better chance of meeting those needs.

I use these techniques all the time with my almost-5 grandson, and am endlessly impressed by how well they work. And how positive and mutually respectful they are.

My best to your tribe.

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answers from Detroit on

My stepsons are now 16 and 17 and while it seems to have gotten a little better, they were like that since I've known them (at ages 5 and 6). They would argue and bicker over the dumbest things imaginable. One time it was over where exactly did Luke Skywalker get his arm cut off in Star Wars. Or over the rules to a board game, even when the rules were explicitly spelled out in the instructions. Or who had to put the cereal back (the one who took it out in the first place or the one who ate from it last?). Or the younger one flipping out because the older one had a imaginary plate of cookies, and pretended to eat all the cookies. Really?

I think so much of it had to do with them being boys, and only being 13 months apart and being together all the time. And their mom used to compare them in front of each other, talking like they weren't even there and couldn't hear her and weren't paying attention, and I'm sure that did not help either. I found myself many times just telling them, "Look, you are driving me and everyone else crazy, just knock it off!" It was just that frustrating.

Now that they are in high school, and have started acting more like individuals, it seems to have lightened up. For now, like someone else suggested, I would just put their names on everything that looks the same (cups, etc.) You can also keep a chart and keep track of who does what when and whose turn is it next. But don't expect them to get along and like each other every day - they will love each other tremendously but if they are not allowed to have their little disagreements and are expected to always get along, they could end up really resenting each other. As long as it doesn't escalate to bullying, name-calling, getting physical, etc., I would not intervene. Sometimes they have to figure out their own solutions.

When my cousins were little, if they really got into a fight with each other, my aunt and uncle would make them sit on the couch and hold hands without talking. That cut down on the fighting real quick.

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answers from Saginaw on

My brothers and I were the same way. My older bro is 18 months older than me and my younger bro is 8 years younger and we were always at each other's throat. It only lasted until my older bro and I were in high school...then we got to be really close friends who had a really annoying little Now, my older bro is 27, I'm 26, and my little bro is 18, and we all consider each other best yes, it will end, but it may not be for a while.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

um....yeah i'll never stop. i'm almost 28, brother is 29 almost 30, and we still bicker, little more lovingly, or looking back on old times type, but, on occasion we still bicker. i have 5 kids (3 daughter's and 2 neices), 3 together every other weekend, the other 2 sister's (my nieces) on the weekends i have all 5 (ages, 14, 13, 8, 7, and 4)'s ALL WEEKEND long. regarless of age, they are going at it

it'll never stop

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answers from Dallas on

They only get alone when they are plotting against you. lol. My sister and I are best friends now and got alone off and on has kids. For the most part, We would fight as kids but if anyone else messed with me they would have to deal with my older sister.

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answers from Indianapolis on

Sorry, it will probably go on until they are in H.S.
That is how it has gone in our family of six children.....I thought it would never end but we lived through it all.....
Good luck!



answers from Harrisburg on

Let's see, there's need for love, fight for attention, competition, personality, invasion of space, age difference, sex difference, and who is right....nope mom, it is not going to end any time soon. It drives me crazy for the giving in to their wants just to "shut" them up though, don't do that. Let them whine sometimes, ignore them and don't get in between unless they are killing each it will only backfire on you. Watch out for the little one too, it is not always the oldest one's fault...the little ones can be sneaky and get away with it because they know they are little and mommy will come to their rescue first.

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