Sibling Fighting - Casselberry,FL

Updated on January 11, 2008
H.O. asks from Casselberry, FL
11 answers

Hello. I have three wonderful children. Their ages are 3 almost 4 yr old girl and 2 1/2 yr old twins (boy/girl). My problem is that they have begun fighting with each other. Nothing serious, but if one wants a toy and someone else has it then they start pushing and screaming at each other. I grew up as an only child so I have no experience with sibling rivalry. My husband (who has 2 brothers) says that it is normal. I try to explain to my kids about sharing and my oldest is getting a lot better, but my twins seem to have concrete stuck in their ears because nothing I say or do helps to end the battles- LOL!!! Any advice would be great. We already use time out and occasionaly a swat on the butt and we also take away toys that were being fought over, but I'm at my wits end and I would like to have a bit of peace in my house, even if it is short-lived. Thanks.

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answers from Orlando on

Hi H.,

I know I'm a few days late but I to have a 4yr old girl and almost (next month) 2yr old twin boys and they all do that....It doesn't matter whose toy it is they all fight for it. I even went as far as getting doble & triple the same toy so that they don't have to fight, but that gets a little expensive!!! It'll all work out in the end.

Take care

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answers from Orlando on

something i do to help with taking turns is, i bring out a timer (the one i use to bake with) and set it for one or two minutes, when they here the timer go off they know its the other ones turn. they will actually bring the timer to me if they are not getting along with the sharing. and whats so funny, last night i was baking cookies and everytime the timer went off one of them would yell " my turn"



answers from Gainesville on

You might not be able to eliminate the fighting and screaming, but you can surely reduce and control it. Rather than removing the toy that caused the problem, try to help the kids resolve it. Your oldest should be able to reason at her age. Try to at first offer possible solutions: -you give up this toy and find another to play with until it is available
-Keep your toy, but offer another one to your sibling(s)
-Figure out a way for you all to play at once...
With my son (2), and a girl I babysit (3), we do a countdown. Whoever had the toy first can keep it for one more minute so long as they are not flaunting it in front of the other.I explain that after the minute is up, I'll count to ten, and the child has the choice of giving the toy up, or having it taken away because their turn is now over. After a few times, the children get that you're not preventing them from playing, and figure out that they can trust that they will have a turn again. Timers work really well too. If you can, you might want to encourage your oldest daughter to come up with her own solutions to problem solve and learn to view other perspectives. Good luck!



answers from Pensacola on

My sons are just turned 4 and 18 months. I agree with the other moms - 2 year olds just do not share. They don't understand it, can't comprehend it, and nothing will help them get it through their heads until they just get out of that phase. For my sons, we would take the toy away. No hitting is ever allowed. We would just say, "if you can't play together without hitting or yelling, then get away from each other". And we would make one go in one room, and the other in another room. They truly do like to play with eachother and as they get older it will get better. But I did notice one extreme thing. The boys have a ton of toys and it seemed like there was a peak where they argued over anything and everything. So we threw all their toys except a small box of toys, into the garage. It's amazing that they almost completely stopped arguing. It seemed like them having too many toys is what was fueling their fighting. Anyway, another thing you could do is read John Rosemond's "How to make the Terrible Two's Terrific". Its not a long book, and its very easy to read through - he uses very plain language and a lot of humor. It works well for two's, three's and even fours!! Best of luck, Jen



answers from Ocala on

Hi H., I have 3 1/2 year old triplets..2 girls and 1 boy...your husband is correct it is normal..For the most part they play well together...that said they definitely want what the other has, there is a lot of breaking apart I must do....I hav etried to buy more of each item but it gets costly...hang in there..i had have 2 sisters....we did it to



answers from Jacksonville on

I'm the oldest of three children and have two children of my own that are very close in age.. just a lil over a year apart.
What my husband and I did to combat "sibling rivalry" is these two tricks that worked best.
1) Take the object they are fighting over away and put it up for the rest of the day, when they end up with nothing to play with they will start sharing.
2) for the older kids buy some "sockem bopems" the inflatable boxing gloves and have a "boxing" match who ever wins *usually the first one to land a hit* gets to play with the toy first and then after snack , lunch *insert specific time* the other gets to play with it...

What ever you do don't say " well he/she is just a baby and doesn't know any better " or " he/ she is just a baby and your a big boy/girl so you should let the baby play with it. That will only cause bigger issues than a few fights over toys.

The other suggestions i've read are also very good. ALSO, one BIG life saver for me was "MOMMY TIME" I set aside a time every night where I get to do what I want and my Hubby takes over domestic duties. Usually I light a bunch of candles in the bathroom, run a bubble bath, grab a good book and some earplugs, and i lock the bathroom door, It helps me to rinse off the stress of the day before bed.
My kids are a bit older than yours so my methods may not work right now, but may in the future.
I was where you are just a few years ago, as they get older, the boy won't want to play with the girls things, and having had a sister 3yrs younger than me, buy all the girl toys in will save you alot of grief in the future.



answers from Punta Gorda on

Yeah, your husband is right, not sharing is normal at 2 1/2. Even my 4 and 7 year olds still sometimes fight over toys that they don't want to share.

I have found that getting out of the house a lot tends to help them not fight as much when we're home and they're playing. Even just going outside seems to have a calming effect on them.

Or playing with them and helping them to figure out how to play together helps too... though there are definitely times that my kids bicker over who gets to be the "doggie" in pretend games. At those times, sometimes it's best to just distract them into doing something else, especially when they're so little. Once they're older, you can model ways for them to work these things out, and leave it up to them to do so, with your supervision from afar.



answers from Jacksonville on

I had 4 kids under the age of 5 1/2 so I understand the lots-of-small-children thing.

Two things that I always stressed were...

1. No one had a right to hit anyone else. (mine always escalated into hitting)

2. I would say to them, 'I know you're angry, but you screamed at your brother. If you picked up a toy and he screamed at you, how would it make you feel?' I expected them to answer, and to think about it, and they did.

In fact, I still use this now, even when 2 of them are teenagers and it still works.

Good luck



answers from Tampa on

What my mother-in-law did in the 60s with her 5 children (my husband is a twin) was to make the fighting siblings sit on the couch and hold hands - quietly. Taking the toy away so no one can have it is a definite.



answers from Naples on

It's hard to "reason" w/ 2 1/2 year olds. Their minds aren't ready for that. When they fight over toys, you might try sitting on the floow BETWEEN them and SHOWING them how to share. Take the toy and play with it first with one child then, as that child watches, with the other child. Let them experience how much nicer it is NOT to fight but to take turns. Reinforce this ACTION with words. Your kids learn more from action than from talk, so SHOW them the action you want them to model.

I'm a grandmother now, and this system worked for my 3 sons (3 1/2 years between oldest and youngest) and w/ my grandchildren too. Try it and demonstrate patience, smiles, happy voice. Good luck.



answers from Lakeland on

I feel for you. It does get better with time and age. It is unfortunatly normal. Just keep say remember we share, especially with the younger 2. Stuff that will also help is until they start sharing really well, buy small toys all the same. Then when they start getting the hang of sharing buy the same toy but let them pick the color. Then if that is working well, let them pick their own toys. Good luck and just keep reminding we share. Big girls and boys share. Don't worry.

N. J

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