Q of the Week : How do you handle fighting in your house? (by Heather S.)

I know all kids fight.  I know we can’t stop it completely.  But some days I feel like I should be wearing a black and white striped outfit and a whistle around my neck.  My kids are both very strong willed and spirited.  My daughter is 5 and is extremely dramatic and wants a lot of space.  My son is 3 and is unusually physically active.  All he wants to do is sit on top of her.  What they want from each other is so completely opposite that we can’t seem to find a common ground.  Some days I don’t know what else to say, I sound like a broken record.  I feel like I have tried it all…


I explain to my kids that we are a kind family.  We don’t hurt each other.  Brothers and sisters are supposed to protect each other.  They can recite how they should treat each other beautifully, but no carry over.

Off limits

We have designated “special toys” and special areas of the house that are off limits to the other sibling.  They break the rules themselves as they give each other permission to come on over or play and then fight about it.

Time outs

I tried time outs both in corners and in their separate rooms.  They don’t care.

Sticker charts

We have implemented sticker charts for “getting along” where the kids can earn rewards for kind behavior.  No luck!

Taking things away

We have had a “fight” bag where every time they fought they would each have to deposit a toy into the bag.  They cry when it goes in, but it hasn’t minimized the fighting.

Ignore it

We have done the “fight it out” method and my daughter knocked four of my son’s teeth out at a 90 degree angle in a matter of 10 seconds ( I never use this method anymore).


I tell them if they talk to other people this way they will not have any friends to play with.  I also tell them how their fighting hurts their mom and dad.  This doesn’t work!


We have read countless books on getting along and being kind.  They like the books, but no cross over to real life.


We have implemented date nights where each parent will take each child on a separate date.  Everyone has fun, but as soon as they are together again … ka-pow!

I am at a loss.  What else do other parents do?  What secret ingredient do you have in teaching your children to get along with each other?  Is this something I have to just deal with for the next 15 years???

Please do tell…


Heather is a life coach for moms, a middle school counselor and a mama who is committed to rocking her mojo! She has two extremely “spirited,” independent and strong-willed children who test her, teach her and exhaust her…several times a day!  You can read more about her at My Mama Mojo.