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How to Get Your Kids to Stop Fighting (with each other)

The most important thing for mom and dad to discover about their own kids fighting with one another is that mom and dad are ALSO PART OF THE PROBLEM.

If you are not aware of systems, then you'll tend to miss the different factors that contribute to what's happening.

Basically, how you respond to sibling rivalry determines how they fight. There are TWO WAYS to respond (essentially)...this video helps you choose a new path, if you're up for a change in family conflicts πŸ™‚

Off to learn,

Fred Ray Lybrand​

  • Keltima says:

    I have to girls 11 &13 they fight non-stop. I never judged. My approach has always been, ” her side his side and the truth approach”. When they were younger and they fought over a toy that toy would disappear. This usually worked. Unfortunately they are both competitive. This is were most of their fights stem from. When we enrolled them in martial arts the fights went down. Now due to other commitments the fighting has started again. I can not at this time enroll them in a sport. Any suggestions?

    • Yes! Do the same thing you did with the toy. Have them both loose a privilege they care about if they don’t resolve their conflict by themselves (and quietly). You want to reward resolution, not the conflict. We gave our boys a day off once-a-month for a while IF they had no conflicts for a month πŸ™‚

  • "TRYING" says:

    UPDATE to previous post. I have been listening to many of your talks from the website. I made a mistake when I said something about a book that you referenced in the talk. That mention of a book was actually in your “consistent as a parent? ha!” section.

    Sorry!

  • Faith says:

    Great advice. Thank you. Now what do you do about the one kid who constantly picks on everybody else? Thats how a lot of our fights start. This one child (oldest of school age -14) constantly picks on the younger children. That often turns into a fight. Any ideas about dealing with the family bully?

    • Fred Ray Lybrand says:

      Well, a fight wouldn’t happen unless they fought back (yea for them πŸ˜‰

      I still think consequences for them all for fighting-and-not-solving-their-own-conflicts is the way to go. You might need different consequences for the different ages.
      Think about it…if he picks a fight…he gets in trouble. If they respond to his picking, they get in trouble. This empowers them all to figure out how to work things out. Better yet, come up with a reward for them solving their conflicts together … (3 Days in a row of no lasting conflicts gets a day off math or a special dessert…something they’d all like).

  • "TRYING" says:

    Fred, I understand your concept, and here it comes, the infamous but… I have three kids. I have tried this in the past, and yes it was for longer than two weeks. I have one child that becomes withdrawn from her siblings. She does not want all of them to get in trouble so she takes it for as long as she can, and then explodes in an emotional mess usually. Also another child who is what I call the “badger”. Always nagging and telling the others what to do. My boy is the one who doesn’t tell on anyone else but always gets told on. It has not helped their relationship or the bickering.

    Also, is this a biblically right attitude? Shouldn’t I, as the parent, help my kids remember to put others first and treat others better than themselves, while they are in the throws of an argument. As in: how could you react the next time? or how can you put your sibling first in this situation? or are you trying to be right or are you trying to love your sibling? By the way, this doesn’t seem to solve the arguing problem either. At least, not in my house… yet.

    Although I know you can rarely, if ever, “determine” who is actually right, and would not advise doing it that way, I would think that punishing the whole group is sort of like a teacher in a class room punishing the whole because a couple kids are acting up. I know, I know… life is not fair. But in a Christian household, I would think there should be a better way to handle problems.

    Personally, in my house, I think the biggest obstacle to having siblings get along, in the long run, would be how the parents treat each other and the kids. That seems to be the biggest problem in my household at least. Although maybe since I am in the “trenches” so to speak, it is hard for me to see what reality is.

    Since I don’t have the book you referenced, maybe it is talked about in more detail in one of the chapters. I am not the best at getting my point across so I hope you get the jist of things. I enjoy your perspective on things and wonder if you have any thoughts on my comments.

    Sincerely.

    • Fred Ray Lybrand says:

      Nope…you’re doing fine. There are a lot of moving parts here, so I’ll just focus on one for the moment.

      You say, “She does not want all of them to get in trouble so she takes it for as long as she can, and then explodes in an emotional mess usually.”

      There are always folks like this (Jody, my wife)… who really want to avoid conflict. The problem usually is that ‘everyone’ is not getting in trouble for the conflict. If she explodes and is a mess, then SHE should have a consequence AND THEY should have a consequence with her.

      The focus is UNITY and RESOLVING CONFLICTS…that’s the aim (rather than avoiding them).

      Figure out how to reward successful resolution of conflicts (we gave the kids a day off of school for every month they resolved all of their conflicts without our interference). Of course, families are different, and there were just two of them—so you may need something different for a shorter time period.

      The trick is to create BOTH positive and negative consequences related to the goal of UNITY / CONFLICT RESOLUTION (instead of ‘stop fighting’).

      So, now tell me your questions.

      Thanks,

      FRL

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