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My dc won't stop fighting and it's destroying family life

(8 Posts)
manchestermummy Thu 18-Jun-15 19:44:29

Dds aged 7 and 4. They just will not stop fighting. They've been sent to bed early with no stories/reading because they had a ridiculous argument over a tricycle which culminated in them screaming at each other. And I mean really screaming.

Dd1 is bossy; dd2 won't share. Dd1 tends to think it's her way or the high way and dd2 has suddenly become more assertive.

Every single weekend ends in a row because they spend every waking moment arguing. We try to do separate things with them, but they only want to do stuff with dh.

What can we do? Charts don't work, timeout doesn't work, removal of items doesn't work, shouting at them doesn't work. I'm on the verge of cancelling our summer holiday because I can't face the thought of two weeks of mediating.

wotoodoo Thu 18-Jun-15 20:24:17

Oh dear!

You need to put being kind and thoughtful on the agenda.

Find out what the favourite rewards are for each dd. Everything they do must be listed up, so favouite tv programmes, cooking with mum, day trip with dad etc etc. The best treats are worth say, 100 reward points (day out with dad) and saying something nice or doing something nice for the other worth 5 reward points etc which they can build up.

Tell them fun things only happen to kind and thoughtful girls.

Tell dd1 if dd2 does kind things to her they will both get a reward. Tell dd2 if dd1 does kind things then they both get a reward.

Get them working up to the weekend by 'banking' rewards, so if they are able to play together for half an hour (say) without shouting then they both get a reward.

If dd1 can say something nice about dd2 then they both get a reward and so on. Basically the idea is to turn them into competively trying to be nice to bank rewards in order to get to watch tv/have a nice snack/go out with dad etc etc which is why everything they enjoy has to have a reward value.

You extend this by saying who can tidy up their bedroom the quickest? If you help each other then you get bonus points/reward.

Even if they are quiet in each others company you can go into the room and say, wow! you both are getting on really well so you both get reward points.

If they shout or are mean then they lose 1 reward point and so on.

This worked so well for my dds as they soon got to enjoy the praise from the reward system that they knew they wouldn't be going out for a nice weekend trip etc unless they got on.

It is important to say to them I am going to give you 2 minutes to sort out an argument or you both lose a reward, or you gain 10 reward points if you sort it out yourselves, thus giving them an incentive to sort it quickly.

If you give them 'treats' without insisting on kind/thoughtful behaviour first then it won't work.

Good luck!

LineRunner Thu 18-Jun-15 20:27:41

Do they share a bedroom?

manchestermummy Thu 18-Jun-15 20:35:29

I like the idea of that - dd1 is very competitive so that might appeal to her.

No, they have their own rooms.

It's very sad really because they got on so well.

Iggly Thu 18-Jun-15 20:39:15

I would teach them how to deal with each other instead of separating them. Sibling relationships help you deal with conflict.

There's a good book called "siblings without rivalry" - worth a read. Me and brother used to fight a lot but we also got on well.

I would not have rewards for good behaviour otherwise it enforces them only doing things in return for something else. More of a way of getting them to think about the other one, getting them to listen to each other and not taking sides.

lagirafe Thu 18-Jun-15 20:41:00

No advice but just to say you are not alone - I have a very similar situation with DS1 (7) and DS2 (4) and it's exhausting being the referee all the time!

HumphreyCobbler Thu 18-Jun-15 20:41:35

I also think Siblings without Rivalry would work. It is a brilliant book. It explores ways to get children to express their feelings without violence/screaming. It gives lots of strategies to help better communication. The techniques really work. They are not reward based.

Tillytoes14 Thu 18-Jun-15 20:42:04

I generally don't interfere with arguing, it's very easy to get drawn into battles and end up playing referee, which I did a lot of at one point. Unless they resort to any sort of name-calling or become physical then I will step in. My two argue far less since I've taken a step back, if the arguing though does come excessive, you could remove privileges.

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