all the kids are fighting...all the time

[deleted account] ( 18 moms have responded )

i'm 26 with two kids, ages 5 and 2. my husband has two kids ages 7 and 5. we've been married for close to a year. my son and his two daughters non stop fight. my son is used to having this house basically to himself seeing as his little sister has only recently been consuming the house over the past year along with his two step sisters. but he still has his own room, with his own toys and books. the girls have their own room together with all their own toys and books. they try to play together but then all hell breaks loose when one person does something that upsets another and then ww4 happens. seperating them in their own rooms doesn't stop it, putting them in different places of the house doesn't stop it, taking things away doesn't stop it. I'm home all day dealing with it and then it gets about ten times worse when my husband gets home and neither one of us have a clue how to handle it anymore. anyone have any good advice?

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Christy - posted on 12/04/2009

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I have 3 children total, 2 biological, 1 step son. When my 3 get to fighting, i do this every single time. The key is consistency. I make them all come to the kitchen table immediately and sit and look at eachother. They are not allowed to talk or have anything with them at the table(toys,etc) Niether do I talk to them. Then..after they have set there for however long, quietly, I come to the table and talk to them about whatever they were fighting over, whether its hitting eachother(i make them hug one another when its time to get up) or fighting over toys.(i take these toys away and put them in the top of my closet, toys go to timeout as well.) I teach the 3 that we are a family and that we love one another. they already have established a set of ground house rules, (no running in the house, no climbing on the furniture, etc) I teach all 3 of them that they are all loved equally by me and my spouse and that we expect them to love eachother equally and to respect one another. This is a hard thing to stay on top of but the more consistant you are, the faster you will begin to see change with them. If you are not consistant, this method will not work. You can have a peaceful home with many children residing in it. When we first got together, our house got pretty chaotic, but I am proud to say that it is so much more enjoyable since i have gotten a system going, so much more peaceful, it makes me smile to watch them and see how far they have come.

Becki - posted on 11/28/2009

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Quoting Carie:

thanks for the advice everyone. dyanne, i agree if you aren't going to parent then don't have kids. i had two kids of my own who i raised by myself for 4 years. I would like to think i did an excellent job being that my two kids got along great and things here where awesome. I love being a mom, especially when they are getting along. we are all adjusting to a whole new life. i'm used to working, now i stay home all the time, my husband is used to working 3 jobs and now only works one, my son got a step-mother and step-father all in one year, he also has two new sisters and one on the way with his step-mother. my step-daughters have a "come and go" mother who likes to put them in danger when she's around (like letting her bf hold them all up at gun point while his friend robbed them so they could collect on insurance), she doesn't close the door when her and her man are having sex. so on and so on. meshing all that together is going to result in some problems. i just haven't found an effective mode of encouragement these kids need or want to make them get along.



family counseling.....you, hubby and all the kids. i think all of you could benefit from this allot. if the kids have someone to talk to i bet you will find out why they fight all the time. and they can learn how to deal with each other. you would be surprised how great having a 3rd party involved can be. i urge you to try it right away. good luck!

Melina - posted on 11/28/2009

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I say take it as a compliment if they are fighting - it means your stepchildren feel truly at home!!! Correct them as you would if it were you're biological kids (I LOVE the idea of grounding them to each other - I've never tried that!!). When my stepson Gus acts out, I throw him in the middle of our usual chaos and he loves it. I think sometimes he does it b/c he feels left out!

Melina - posted on 11/28/2009

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Quoting Christi:

There is a great book called "1-2-3 Magic" it sounds hokey but its really good - and easy. I thought it was a great help with discipline. Your kids are still young enough to learn discipline - don't wait until they are older - its so much harder then! Good luck!



1-2-4 Magic is GREAT!!!  Our only problem was sticking to it.  If you do, it REALLY works!!!!

Elaine - posted on 11/08/2009

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At one time when my girls were younger... they started to fight i...... well.... i tied the girls shoe laces together... and they had to work together and every were one went the other had to go... it was a fight at first then by the end of the day they were playing and having a ball.... I just don't like fighting and it was hard at first but in the end they made friends and i only had to do it a few times among the girls.... then they have to talk it out and work it out or it was going to be a LONG day... ;)'

Amber - posted on 11/06/2009

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It typically can take up to 3yrs for blended families to become close, and everyone to settle in fully. So really this is to be expected. My husband and I have been married 5yrs, together almost 10yrs...I had 2 kids that were about 1.5 and 3 when we moved in together, my husband had 2 kids that were 3 and 6, we then had 3 more babies w/in 22mos after a bit...so our kids went through so many changes one after another, we moved around a lot on top of it all. We made it past the 1st 3 roughest years, but 1 thing that did help a lot was, we always had house rules hanging..the kids could argue, they could get angry, they could express themselves, but hitting was unacceptable, hitting was an automatic timeout, it still is. Finding things that they need each other for helps a lot, for instance while cleaning up, the kids were always paired up with a buddy, playtime came after so they wanted to help each other to hurry and get it done, having family meetings helps too (even when they are little and you feel no one is listening) because it becomes a normal part of your house so as they get older the meetings are way more useful.
And just because you are having these issues does not make you an abnormal family, or bad parents, even siblings who aren't blended families can go through the fighting stages.
Just keep looking for things that can bring you all together, and make sure you are spending some quiet alone time with each child daily, even 10-15mins daily really gives you insight into what they are thinking and feeling.

Lisa - posted on 10/23/2009

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I am going to add that I think it is unfair for anyone to imply that if your kids are hitting each other you are an unfit parent. Kids, even the gentlest ones, will hit from time to time. I think the fact that you are asking for help tells me you are a great mom, who is outnumbered and overwhelmed on how to handle a situation. The best parenting in the world cannot always prevent our children from doing certain things. I do not promote violence in our home, and I very rarely give a swat or spanking, but my kids will hit each other on occasion. You continue to teach them that hitting is not acceptable and try to find other ways to handle it if what you are doing is not working, like ask other moms....which is what you're doing. Good job and good luck =)

Lisa - posted on 10/23/2009

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Out of my five biological chilren, it was always the two oldest doing all the fighting. The oldest being a girl, and the other a boy. No matter what I did or said, they were always at each other's throats. I learned a trick from an older mom years ago, and decided to give it a try, I had nothing to lose. I gave it a few tweaks of my own, but here's what I did: Ground them to each other. For the whole day, they had to stay together, with the only allowed seperation was a bathroom break, in which the other one had to wait outside the door. If they argued or hit each other, there was a penalty (this was my tweak). I would have them face each other, HUGGING, and they had to look each other in the eye and pay a compliment. When you first do this, you get some protests. But within a short time, they actually began to TALK, and even share a few giggles. In the end, it forced my children to focus on the positive things about each other they liked (hence the compliments). It also forced them to problem solve, finding creative ways they had to stay together while still doing the things they had to do. When it was all said and done, they WANTED to hang out together and found laughter out of anger. Works for us every time.

[deleted account]

i really like the timer thing. as it is, i had already taken all the toys, books, and other random things out of the room. they don't have computer time either because they broke the last one from fighting over it. how ever i babysat today for a little boy and so i brought some of my sons toys out along with some of the girls toys. all went pretty smoothly with the toys. i wonder if not having them for so long made them appreciate it. i hope that i can give all there toys back soon...they take up to much room in the garage...lol...as for the fighting...i've been more interceptive with it even more so on my two year old who is the main one who starts it when something doesn't go her way. we tried hard with the time out thing, it wasn't working but it's starting to. hopefully the fighting will be out the door soon! thanks everyone for all your advice! i'll deffinitly take a look at that book..."1-2-3 magic".

Paula - posted on 10/19/2009

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we are taking away computer time or other things they want to do from the kids depending on the age so that they learn it cost them to fight and to pick a fight it is better to walk away or talk it out rather than to come to blows. With our 4, 5 and 8 year olds we make them work together on a project if they hit each other or lose the object they fought over if they are unwilling to share.

We also find setting a timer helps remember when the other childs turn with a toy and it helps the child waiting to wait.

Christi - posted on 10/19/2009

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There is a great book called "1-2-3 Magic" it sounds hokey but its really good - and easy. I thought it was a great help with discipline. Your kids are still young enough to learn discipline - don't wait until they are older - its so much harder then! Good luck!

[deleted account]

thanks for the advice everyone. dyanne, i agree if you aren't going to parent then don't have kids. i had two kids of my own who i raised by myself for 4 years. I would like to think i did an excellent job being that my two kids got along great and things here where awesome. I love being a mom, especially when they are getting along. we are all adjusting to a whole new life. i'm used to working, now i stay home all the time, my husband is used to working 3 jobs and now only works one, my son got a step-mother and step-father all in one year, he also has two new sisters and one on the way with his step-mother. my step-daughters have a "come and go" mother who likes to put them in danger when she's around (like letting her bf hold them all up at gun point while his friend robbed them so they could collect on insurance), she doesn't close the door when her and her man are having sex. so on and so on. meshing all that together is going to result in some problems. i just haven't found an effective mode of encouragement these kids need or want to make them get along.

Dyanne - posted on 10/19/2009

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I am sorry but it is not good to let kids hit each other and to just ignore it!!! Don't have kids if you don't want to parent...it is up to parents to set an atmosphere of mutual respect and care. Sibling can and should get along and it is up to parents to teach them how to do that.. if kids are using bad words were are they hearing those words? Set the rules and then enforce them! In our home NO ONE HITS!!

Dyanne - posted on 10/19/2009

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Sit down and have family meeting where everyone gets a chance to talk. Make a set of house rules at the meeting and the consequences and then follow through. When my boys were younger they argued over the video games..my husband took it and put it away for a couple of months and we had a family meeting before he gave it back and all set down the rules for playing with it and my husband told them if there was one argument about it it would be gone for good..it worked!! We didn't allow our kids to fight..no hitting, no disrespectful talking to each other. We also didn't do step brother or sisters..they were brothers and that was that. My oldest son 24 now gets mad at me..but him and his brother are tight as can be.

Courtney Faith - posted on 10/18/2009

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Nanny 911? or SuperNanny? :-) Just kidding. Although they would jump on the opportunity. My children read this book called "When I Feel Angry" and it helped them. He is only 6 and my daughter is now 10. They need to know that they are allowed to feel emotions but how they act on them is what makes them appropriate or inappropriate.

[deleted account]

Quoting Carie:

that's our problem though, when they fight, it's physical. the beat the crap out of each other, even my 2 year old joins in and puts in her fair share of hits and smacks before she gets her own. we never really know what starts it, one minute its quiet and then the next, there's hitting screaming and crying, name calling, kicking, walls being hit, furniture being turned over or moved, books and toys throwing...it's insane. when they are getting along or trying to they don't do so bad. i can ignore the petty fighting that all siblings do. it's just the physical part that i can't handle.



if its physical take the one(s) you caught and put them into a time out or whatever you do when they break that rule. Dont get into the they did it first argument. Matter of factly remove each offender from the situation and place them away from each other. Then after that make them appologize together and then go over how to solve problems better. only after an appology and the quick discussion can they be allowed to go play. Any who hurt after that loses the rest of the day for playtime.



 



Once they get the idea that they wont get to have anymore fun for the rest of the day they will be forced to rethink how to deal with things. Whatever you choose as a punishment for hurting must be a show stopper for them, something that gets their attention and fast. Dont forget to use the empathy card on them, if it hurts them then it hurts others, if they dont like being hurt then  they shouldnt do it to others.

[deleted account]

that's our problem though, when they fight, it's physical. the beat the crap out of each other, even my 2 year old joins in and puts in her fair share of hits and smacks before she gets her own. we never really know what starts it, one minute its quiet and then the next, there's hitting screaming and crying, name calling, kicking, walls being hit, furniture being turned over or moved, books and toys throwing...it's insane. when they are getting along or trying to they don't do so bad. i can ignore the petty fighting that all siblings do. it's just the physical part that i can't handle.

[deleted account]

This may sound silly but act like its nothing. And no matter what dont get yourself sucked into the argument.



We have 2 7yr olds a 6 yr old an 18 mth old and a few day old (the eldest is a girl! eek! the rest are boys lol) when our older three get into fights we just let them be, the only time we step in is if a bad word is spoken or someone gets physically hurt. The more you try to step in the less they will learn how to deal with issues on their own. Tell them how to deal with certain things on their own (ie. how to trade for a toy if someone is using the one they want, or learning how to wait their turn. Learning how to just walk away or ignore something) then everytime an issue comes up remind them of what to do and then just walk away. it wont do much right away but once they figure out how to deal with things that come up there will be less stress on you and dad.



The fights probably wont go away but they will learn how to deal with things on their own, we still have good and bad days here.

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