Any tips on dealing with fighting children?

Tonya - posted on 05/14/2010 ( 17 moms have responded )

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My kids are 13 and 10. They are driving me insane with the fighting. It all ends in a screalming match, including me screaming at them and I hate it. I feel like my family is so out of control...everything is a constant fight no matter what I say. I do implement consequencesa and I stick to what I say. I am at my wits end. It's always he did this or she did that.....HELP !!! What do you do to quite the situation?

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[deleted account]

I have seven children so fighting kids is not new to me. My youngest are 13 and 11. They still squabble some but do much better than they used to. I'm so glad they are about done with that stage.
What i have found to work the best is for me to refuse to get involved in their fight. Kids are just too good at making themselves look like the good guy and the other look like the bad guy. I quietly tell them, "look, you are learning to be adults. You are old enough to figure this out. You both know what is right and what is wrong and you need to work things out. If you don't learn this now you never will." I walk away. If they keep at it I assign them each a chore, usually as far away from each other as possible. If they get done with the chore and go at it again I assign another chore. It doesn't take long for them to figure two things. #1 I'm not taking sides. #2 I can find lots of work to be done.

It's not and overnight change but if you do it consistently I think you will gradually see progress.

Christina - posted on 05/28/2010

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I don't have THE solution, but I have some suggestions: 1 is that we have a family meeting ever weekend before the start of the next school/camp week (depending on time of year). We discuss our family values and one of them is kindness, honoring each other and taking good care of our relationships. It gives my boys an opportunity to present their issues in a "court" so to speak in which they both get acknowledged for how they are feeling and we discuss ethical, fair solutions. These solutions aren't always to their liking or ones that both of them feel is fair. That is inevitable. But it does begin the process of learning how to negotiate, communicate and respect all family members. We also remind them how much they will want to have a relationship with each other when they're grown. Even if they don't believe it it will stick in the back of their minds.

I really hear you about being at your witts end and it may be that you need to take some realy serious time outs with them. You may need to make even the fun stuff completely off limits. Better yet, take away the thing their fighting about and they have to earn it back with excellent communication and relationship. My boys respond to very specific instructions. I just take the item away and let them know that until I see they have been getting along (nice words, cooperation and respect) for a week they won't get it back on either side, and there will be no new privileges either).

I am not an expert, just have had a step daughter from 7-17 and now have boys 9 and 13 plus had a stepson from 12 to now 21. Pretty much from experience and doing the best I can like you

[deleted account]

I have a 13 year old boy and a 10 year old girl. They don't fight. If they begin to have a disagreement, I stop them, quietly ask each one what their perspective is, then ask them both what they think is the positive, fair, and kind way to resolve the issue. I don't let things escalate to yelling. We have always spent time explaining the importance of personal space and respect.

The best advice I ever got was from a neighbor friend who has since passed from brain cancer. My children were very young at the time we were friends. I asked her why her children were always so cooperative and their family so calm. She said the key was that she never yelled--but if she whispered, they knew they were in trouble--and they had to work hard to listen. I implemented it immediately, and she was a genius, because it works. You become the calm to the storm.

Kristi - posted on 05/19/2010

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I have a son 13 and a daughter 11. My suggestion would be to sit them down and let them know that from here on out, that if they are fighting with words then you are gonna give them a few minutes to work it out but that if you have to intervene then they will both be punished for the bickering. And....if they are fighting physically, there will be no waiting around. That they will both be punished, no matter who started it because family does not hit family. Let them know you are serious.
Are you sending them to their rooms where their IPODS, radios, computers, cell phones, tvs, toys, games, etc etc...is?? If they are going to their rooms and they have things to do to keep them busy, then they won't learn anything from it. Send them to their rooms but tell them they are to sit in the center of their room doing nothing. Try it for 30 mins. If they continue to fight and you have to do it again make them sit their for longer. Once they figure out that they are going to be bored to death and that the fighting is taking away from their time...hopefully they will stop. I did this with my two and it only took a matter of time before they realized that they were gonna get punished if they kept doing it. I think I got up to them sitting in their rooms for two hours one time. It's hard but it's what worked for me. Now I rarely have to get onto them. If this does not work for you, then you might have to find a consequence that stings enough to work for them.

W - posted on 05/17/2010

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10 year old throwing things...might make him pay for things he broke. Do try to catch them being good, give them a compliment or let them hear you saying good things to others (aiming for positive reinforcement instead of only noticing the bad....not saying that's what is happening but that was my experience.) I did used to make kids pay me for insults. Latest tactic: if the older brother is caught saying derogatory/insulting things about the younger and I catch him, I give him the eye...he has to come up with 3 compliments and spend time/invite him to hang out.

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Ja'Net - posted on 05/28/2010

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My husband and i did not like fighting at all so we encourage our children to come to the table and talk...not yell...If they choose to yell and fight, their allowance which was in an envelope to be given to them at the end of the week was minus a few dollars.We never had to say stop yelling just went to the fridge took the envelope off the door and took out funds. This also works when you are going on a long trip put the envelope over the sun visor and everytime we are asked are we there yet dad & I got a dollar...ask a 2nd time we got $2. It really works. Even today they will sit and talk they are 25 & 23 and teaching their kids the same lessons. This lesson has been worth it's weight in gold.

Amanda - posted on 05/28/2010

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I tend to not get involved if my kids fight and tell them that I will not take sides unless one of them needs hospital treatment this normally makes them take a step back ,I also will after the din calms down get them to explain to each other and myself why it had been created in the first place and normally it is over something so trivial that they end up laughing about it .
I have also been know to say kids I have been a naughty mum so i'm sending myself to my bedroom where I can calm myself down so as not to get fustrated with their bickering.

Miriam - posted on 05/25/2010

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Well I have a 13 year old son and a 14 year old nephew that used to fight all the time in our house. Now they don't even want us to catch them fighting. We take and take until they have no more luxuries. The 1st time they woke me up out of my sleep fighting and I had to get physical with both of them. My husband told me to let them work it out. They kinda did but not to my satisfaction, so I started taking games, ipods, phones, computers, tv's etc. When I say they don't want us to catch them fighting, we never see them fighting now. Now and again we might hear some rumbling and bumpin goin on but, no child is perfect and we can handle this much better. Hope this helped and good luck...

Anne Marie - posted on 05/24/2010

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About throwing things I have kids who have done the same thing. When they have damaged a wall, I waited till they calmed down and I just said to them well I guess if that is the way you are going to handle your anger we need to go to the store buy the right equipment to fix it and t his is how you fix it, and showed them to the best of my ability. If it is poorly done I get them to refix and explain their homes and ours will not have the best walls in town. I also take the time to explain how this anger will take away from fun money and time with friends. When I asked them what would help them in these situations they say " to just get out of here". I ablige them and took them for a car ride. It seperates them and it is amazing how they open up to you a let you know how they feel. in many cases my son would open up about something else that is totally unrelated that has been bothering him. Sometimes we went to Tim hortons and got a hot chocolate or what ever. I t doesn't have to be a long ride, 1/2 hour or so. On a few occassions I rented a hotel room for me and one child when I felt the anger may escalate to violence, didn't want to take the chance but really a car ride has been an amazing tool for me.

Karen - posted on 05/24/2010

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Wow, some great ideas! I'm glad I popped in here for this one. I have a 14 yr old daughter and 12 year old son who fight all the time too. Since my son also has ADHD it is tough to find solutions that work for any period of time. Thanks for the great ideas and I hope that some of this also works for you Tonya (and everyone else), I feel your pain.

Lesley - posted on 05/23/2010

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My kids do the same thing, a lot. When it starts to get out of hand, I make them sit on the sofa and hold hands. It works best for the 11 and 6 year old. They have to get along and at least pretend to like each other for 15 minutes before they are allowed to get up. This works well for me because I am not in a situation where I feel like I have to pick a side, and it gives them time to work out the problem themselves.

Brandy - posted on 05/19/2010

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I can totally relate to all of you guys! I have a 12 yr old girl and an 8 yr old boy, who fight from the time their feet hit the floor until their heads hit the pillow!!
Our biggest issue is my daughter has such a hateful, snotty attitude! It drives me CrAzY!!!! I can't stand the way she talks to her brother...she is so mean! Of course he just tells her to SHUT-UP...and the screaming & fighting start!! He is a typical little brother and I have tried to tell her that he is only picking on her to get a rise out of her, and if she would just ignore him he will stop.
I see other siblings who laugh and play and look out for one another and it breaks my heart when my 2 act like they hate each other! I have told them countless times that one day they will only have each other, because their daddy & I won't be here...

[deleted account]

ok so what do you do when u get one of them that throws a tentrum when hes getting disciplined...like Ill tell my 12 yr old boy to go to his room and hell throw stuff against the walls.

Reeshemah - posted on 05/16/2010

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I can relate to what you are saying. I have a 13 year old daughter and a 10 year old son and the fight constantly over dumb stuff. I am tired of hollering at them so I just take away their games and computer time and they really hate that. Eventually, they will go to sleep for awhile, and I will have some peace and quite.

Theresa - posted on 05/15/2010

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My boys are 14 and 11, so I know exactly what you're going through. I came up with something that seems to work. I explained it all to them before anything even happened, then impliment it right away when the fighting starts. I don't care who did what, who started it, etc. When they fight they go sit at the kitchen table for 15 minutes. If I hear any talking the time restarts for both of them. They are to use the 15 minutes to come up with 3 nice things to say about the other. At the end of 15 minutes I come in and have them give eachother the 3 compliments. I have been surprised at the compliments they've come up with. I thought it might be superficial things, but they've gotten kind of deep sometimes and very nice. Using this method has really cut back on the fights. Good luck.

Tonya - posted on 05/14/2010

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Sorry, I should have added that my 13 yr old is a boy and my 10 yr old is a girl. So, no they do not share a room and they do get sent to their rooms for my own sanity. The pulling the car over is a good idea.
Yes, it can drive you insane !!!! Glad I am not alone,lol

Kristy - posted on 05/14/2010

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do they share a room or do they have their own rooms? I separate mine. They fight, i send them to their rooms for 30 minutes. If we are driving down the road, i pull over and refuse to budge til they stop! Drives a mom insane!

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