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Dr. Tom
Dr. Tom, Family Therapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 23
Experience:  Dr. Smith taught graduate level Family Therapy and counsels.
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My two little boys fight like fire and water, especially when

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My two little boys fight like fire and water, especially when they are tired, no news there.

they are 1.7 and 3 yrs and I would really like some ideas on how best to get them to stop fighting with each other. I would like to teach them cooperation but I am not sure how i model that for them (i'm a single dad), even when i buy two of the exact same thing they find a way to fight over it.
Currently I use a stern daddy voice, timeouts, and i sit down with them and explain why they should share, but to no avail.
I would like some suggestions on how best to intercede when they are starting to get into it so i can nip it in the bud (if that's possible)

Kids this young respond to high structure and limits and boundaries. You are going to have to be consistent and repeat yourself many times because they are going to try your patience and wear you down. You have one clue about where to begin ... when they get tired was your key insight. When you notice that that time is approaching start setting up the structure with rules, what you want them to do and that they are going to do it because you are the dad and the authority. It is training them not teaching. Remember they are not subject to reason at this age so do not waste your time trying to reason or explain things to them. There are logical consequences to any behavior; you have to make that determination because every family and behavior is different. So, to sum: high structure, set up the situation before it occurs, set proper limits and boundaries and the logical consequences that follow when they are violated. Be patient and consistent; you are going to sound like a broken record, but that's okay. Separating them and timeouts are good. Be unemotional; you cannot let them get to you. A family is an interactive system. Observe and learn how yours works. I hope this helps. Best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Tom and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Glad to be of help. If you have any future problems or developments, let me know. Here is a link to a publication by Vanderbilt University sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services on logical consequences ... it is a downloadable pdf: