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How Can I Get My Kids to Stop Fighting?

Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family
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Dec 20, 2019
How many times have you heard an argument break out and, moments later, your kids are fighting? More often than not, it’s one of many disputes between them that you’ve had to referee during the day. As a parent, I’m sure you are asking how to calm down the sibling rivalry and get your kids to stop fighting.

Researchers report there is at least one sibling conflict in families with young children every ten minutes. That’s a lot of refereeing from parents every day!

Sibling Fights are Nothing New

Sibling fights are nothing new, but God calls us into a different story. The story of Cain and Abel in Genesis is the earliest account we have of a sibling conflict. We read their story, which takes place when they are adults. I wonder what their relationship was like as children and how their conflicts at a young age impacted their interactions as grownups.

God calls us to have a different relationship with our siblings than Cain and Abel’s relationship. Jesus calls us to be imitators of Him and to seek unity with those around us. As a parent, you have the privilege of teaching this in your home to your children. Teaching our kids how to imitate Christ in loving others in our family will help them in relationships for the rest of their lives.

Reasons Why Siblings Fight

Why do siblings fight with each other? Possible reasons include:

  • Jealousy
  • A desire for power and control
  • Feeling that things are unfair
  • Being tired or hungry
  • Feeling left out
  • Boredom
  • Impulsiveness
  • Competitiveness
  • Difficult-to-manage emotions such as frustration, anxiety, stress, or sadness

Sometimes it’s not just one reason that causes kids to fight. There can be many combinations and possibilities at play when your children choose to argue with one another. But just as they engage in conflict, they can also participate in the solution.

What happens when your children have a conflict in your home? Do you scream? Do you ignore it and then explode? Or do you ignore it and let your kids hash it out in the hopes that they’ll “figure it out?” Without maturity, this last tactic leaves one child in power and the others powerless. A power and control structure naturally develops, especially if one or more of your children have a peacemaker personality.

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4 Keys to Stopping Kids From Fighting

Your children need your guidance in resolving conflict and exhibiting empathy and patience as they navigate relationships. Living with siblings is a great training ground for managing future relationships and learning all about patience, compromise, empathy, humility, and other important character qualities.

There are four key traits that kids need to learn as they figure out how to manage sibling conflicts:

1. Flexibility of Mind

Help your children learn first to consider the other person’s point of view and ask the question, “Is there another way to look at this?” The flexibility of the mind allows for compromise and understanding.

2. Humility

Humility means your children learn to consider other people as important and worth including their interests, thoughts, and opinions. It also means they must learn to listen to others attentively and genuinely. David tells us in Psalm 25:9, “He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.” Ask the Holy Spirit to help guide you as you teach your kids humility, and He will help you.

3. Patience

Ensure that your child knows what patience looks like and help them see the benefits of patience in relationships. Patience requires self-control. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:1-3, “I therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

4. Self-Awareness

Your children need to learn to own their contribution to the problem. Powerful and critical personalities have difficulty owning their faults. How well do you model this for your children?

The $1 Per Minute Technique

One tool that many parents find helpful when dealing with sibling fights is the “$1 per minute” technique. Imagine if your children had to hire you for $1 per minute if they cannot resolve the conflict after five minutes. This technique could help fund your next date night or family night out! I recommend having the most inflexible child in the conflict foot more of the bill.

Once the five minutes are up, and penalties start piling up, make sure you follow through in collecting the money. The $1 per minute is a reminder that conflict has a cost. Of course, your kids get to decide whether they want to spend their money that way again in the future. It won’t take too many times before your kids will do their very best to resolve conflict within the first five-minute window.

These traits and techniques will help you to develop maturity and growth in your kids and can help manage sibling rivalry and conflicts, and help stop your kids’ fighting.

For more practical tools and tips, or to take the FREE parenting assessment, go to

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