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proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1374
Experience:  Teacher 20+ years, Parent, Expert Mentor
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I have two children ages 12 and 9. They are constantly fighting.

Customer Question

I have two children ages 12 and 9. They are constantly fighting. Its to the point my daughter has said she wishes one day she could wake up and her brother had never been born. How can I diffuse the hostility in our house?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 4 years ago.
Hello and Thank You for using JustAnswer. I am sorry to hear about the behavior problems with your children. Is there anything specific that they argue about or is it just about anything and everything? Are both parents residing in the home? Are you the mother or father? Have your children always had squabbles or is this something new? Thank you!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your response. They will find anything and everything to argue about, from who is right to what the other one is thinking. I used to think it was due to a need for more one on one time with both their father and I. So I set aside a day for each one to have two hours with me and a separate day for them to have special time with their father. Yes, both of us parents are living together and have been since before the oldest was born. They have always squabbled, however, it seems to be happening more frequently and with more intensity. The anger usually comes from my daughter, to the point where she is bawling and saying how much she hates her brother, which is a word that is not allowed to be said in our home. I just don't feel that all the anger she is experiencing is healthy and good for her. Any suggestions on what I can do or say to help her work through whatever it is that is upsetting her?

Expert:  proexpert37 replied 4 years ago.
So it is more that your daughter starts the bickering?
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 4 years ago.
Or do you want advice on how you can help both children equally? Thanks!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My daughter starts her fair share of the bickering, however, my son is just as guilty. They take turns on who is antagonizing the other. My daughter is just way more vocal with her outbursts. She will start screaming at him, wishing that he was never born or callimg him names. I would like advice on how to get both of them to at least be civil towards one another. It just makes it so hard to have any fun as a family, to spend any quality family time when they are at each others throats every 10 minutes.

Expert:  proexpert37 replied 4 years ago.
I must step out of the office for just bit but will promptly answer your question upon my return.

Expert:  proexpert37 replied 4 years ago.
Hello Dear Client. What your children are experiencing is simply sibling rivalry. It is normal for there to be some degree of jealousy, competition,and fighting. Although it is frustrating and stressful for parents, your children need to work through conflicts in a positive way. Make sure that you pay attention to their own talents, activities, and interests. Do not play favorites between children. Give your children equal amounts of attention. Try to make sure that you eat family meals together. Have regular enjoyable family activities on a regular basis.

When your children argue, do not take sides. Be there for each child. Set aside alone time, like you do, for each child daily, even if it is 10 minutes of uninterrupted time. Listen to what your children have to tell you. REALLY listen attentively as to how they feel. Make each child feel special in their own way.

Do not yell or lecture when they argue. It will only make things worse. Teach your children how to develop skills to work out their own conflicts. Teach them how to compromise and show more respect toward each other.

You may also want to have regular family meetings to help foster communication and cooperation and show that everyone's opinion matters.

Also, here are two books that might help you:

Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live To
By. Adele Faber and Elaine Maslish

Beyond Sibling Rivalry: How to Help Your Child Become Cooperative, Caring, and Compassionate
By. Peter Goldenthal

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