When Kids Argue with Each Other

By Jedd Hafer

It came from the backseat. It crept up while we were on the phone. It wasn’t a monster, but something much more menacing – kids arguing.

Have you noticed that kids pick the worst times to start bickering? Few things can be as annoying or draining for parents. What options do we have when kids argue with each other? How about:

  • Whether we are physically present to hear it or not?
  • How much we charge to listen to it?
  • How we react?
  • What we model?

What statements can we make in these situations to help keep the problem of arguing on the kids’ shoulders where that problem belongs?

Some parents try this one:

“It sounds like you guys are having a problem – and it will be interesting to see how you solve it.”

And if they don’t solve it?

Parents can solve the problem – perhaps by “charging” the kids something to put back the energy it took to listen to that fighting. Some parents charge $1 per minute to listen to arguing in the car (or other situations in which the parent can’t “escape”). Other parents charge by offering some of their own chores for the children to accomplish to put back the drained energy.

Many parents using Love and Logic techniques have success empowering their kids to solve problems and resolve conflicts (on their own) rather than reacting with anger and frustration in the moment. And when the kids don’t resolve things wisely, it costs them something.

You can hear more great ideas for sibling arguing and bickering in
Dr. Charles Fay’s fun CD, Sibling Rivalry.

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