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Can't Stop My Children From Fighting?

My 7-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy fight each other a lot; yelling, hitting, slapping, pulling hair, kicking, and pushing, and it's done maliciously. I have separated them, sent them to their rooms, and taken away privileges. A lot of their fights are spontaneous, but they also compete for everything: TV time, toys, music time, and mommy time. I can't get them to stop fighting and bickering. What do I do? 


Scarborough, On

Dear Janice,

Even in loving homes, some children will mistreat and be harsh with their siblings. Learning to resolve sibling rivalry prepares kids for later in life, when they have to negotiate and work out differences in the real world (outside the family). You can do a few things to speed up this process: Reward their cooperative periods with compliments while its happening. Motivate them to play peacefully by offering incentives for such behaviour perhaps a favourite dessert at the end of three good days, or a family outing on the weekend something that you know they both treasure. Give them some time each day to play in their own space without the sibling. Try to spend a few minutes every day with one child alone, perhaps switching off between parents (if possible). Turn off the TV and limit the shows which demonstrate and encourage fighting, nagging and selfish behaviour. Finally, let them work out some conflicts on their own so that your attention doesn't reward them for fighting.

Mrs. willow
Parent Tree Panel

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