000-017   000-080   000-089   000-104   000-105   000-106   070-461   100-101   100-105  , 100-105  , 101   101-400   102-400   1V0-601   1Y0-201   1Z0-051   1Z0-060   1Z0-061   1Z0-144   1z0-434   1Z0-803   1Z0-804   1z0-808   200-101   200-120   200-125  , 200-125  , 200-310   200-355   210-060   210-065   210-260   220-801   220-802   220-901   220-902   2V0-620   2V0-621   2V0-621D   300-070   300-075   300-101   300-115   300-135   3002   300-206   300-208   300-209   300-320   350-001   350-018   350-029   350-030   350-050   350-060   350-080   352-001   400-051   400-101   400-201   500-260   640-692   640-911   640-916   642-732   642-999   700-501   70-177   70-178   70-243   70-246   70-270   70-346   70-347   70-410   70-411   70-412   70-413   70-417   70-461   70-462   70-463   70-480   70-483   70-486   70-487   70-488   70-532   70-533   70-534   70-980   74-678   810-403   9A0-385   9L0-012   9L0-066   ADM-201   AWS-SYSOPS   C_TFIN52_66   c2010-652   c2010-657   CAP   CAS-002   CCA-500   CISM   CISSP   CRISC   EX200   EX300   HP0-S42   ICBB   ICGB   ITILFND   JK0-022   JN0-102   JN0-360   LX0-103   LX0-104   M70-101   MB2-704   MB2-707   MB5-705   MB6-703   N10-006   NS0-157   NSE4   OG0-091   OG0-093   PEGACPBA71V1   PMP   PR000041   SSCP   SY0-401   VCP550   000-080   1Z0-051   300-208   350-029   102-400   1z0-434   220-801   70-347   1Z0-804   210-260   640-911   300-135   NSE4   EX200   070-461   70-534   700-501   9L0-012   MB6-703   400-101   70-480   M70-101   SY0-401   PMP   1Z0-061   9A0-385   642-732   000-017   9L0-066   JN0-102   1Z0-061   70-411   1V0-601   300-206   400-051   MB2-707   640-692   101   70-346   CISSP   HP0-S42   PR000041   PMP   300-075   200-125  , 300-135   CCA-500   2V0-620   CISM   OG0-093  

Our Kids Won’t Stop Fighting – Greater Pensacola Parents

Our Kids Won’t Stop Fighting

Reader Question: We have a boy, 6, and a girl, 9, who fight constantly about everything under the sun. My husband and I have a good marriage. We hardly ever have a serious disagreement about anything, so it’s hard for us to understand what has led to our kids’ inability to get along. In any case, their fighting has become very draining, especially to me because I homeschool and am with the children much more than is my husband. When they fight, I generally try to figure out which of them was in the wrong and make him or her apologize. My husband thinks that’s not helping. What do you think?

A much wiser man than I once said, “Forced apologies are morally meaningless.” In your situation, does the child who apologizes truly think he or she was in the wrong? No. When siblings have conflict, each of them thinks he/she has been the victim of some insult or offense from the other. It takes much more maturity and wisdom than is possessed by 6- and 9-year-old children to see things from another person’s point of view. Is the apology, therefore, sincere? No. I suppose an argument could be made that it is “good practice,” but that’s idealistic thinking. The fact is that these forced apologies are probably making matters worse.

What has led to your children’s inability to get along is their innate self-centeredness. You and your husband have obviously modeled what a properly loving relationship looks (and sounds) like. But as I’ve pointed out many times in this column and elsewhere, parenting is not deterministic. That is the Freudian myth. As parents of prior generations understood, “every child has a mind of his own.” Good parenting does not guarantee a good outcome (and vice versa). Neither of your children are interested in a good relationship. They each want their own way. You and your husband want a good relationship. Each of you is willing to sacrifice self-interest to that end. It will be more than a few years before your kids are able to do the same – to put relationship above self – with one another or anyone else.

When parents “referee” sibling conflicts, things always go from bad to worse. For this reason, I nearly always recommend that parents not engage in trying to determine who did “it,” who did what to whom, who said what, who looked at the other sibling a certain way, etc. Hold both children equally accountable for disrupting the peace of the household. The first disruption of any given day earns both kids a good amount of time in their respective rooms (or separate rooms if they share space). That’s the warning shot. The second infraction earns them confinement for the remainder of the day – without electronic entertainment of any sort – and early bedtime.

In my experience, consistent enforcement of this consequence-based program will begin to show good results within a couple of weeks and cure within a couple of months (albeit occasional enforcement may still be necessary for up to six months). The key is dispassion on your part. The emotional consequences of the problem must belong to the children, and the children alone.

John Rosemond

Family psychologist John Rosemond is America’s most widely-read parenting expert. Learn more about John at www.rosemond.com