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Q:

I have an 11 year old and 7 year old who fights. What do I do?

Question asked by Jocelyn, via an email to the Education.com webmaster.
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges, Parenting siblings
> 60 days ago

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Expert

LouiseSattler
Jul 26, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Hello Jocelyn,

First, fighting among siblings is very common.  Many times they fighting will come in spurts.  Just when you think they are getting along there will be tension and a fight erupts over what seems to be "nonsense" to an adult. At times the increase of fights signals a growth spurt in maturity of one child while another is not experiencing any significant developmental changes.  

Unfortunately, with an eleven year old child you are bound to experience more challenges with sibling conflict and some tension between yourself and this child as they enter adolescence.  And your seven year old will most likely seem quite irritating at times to a child entering his/her teen years.  It will ebb and flow and ease in time as they both are at similar developmental stages.

Here are some resources I recommend:

There is an excellent book that I would like to recommend, Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. This book clearly explains the most common reasons why older children become jealous and act out when a sibling comes along. Also, strategies for coping and changing behaviors are spelled out in this book. These authors also have a companion book titled, "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk".


Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall: A Parent's Guide to the New Teenager, Revised and Updated by Anthony E. Wolf Ph.D. and Anthony E. Wolf

Lastly,  there are other super resources listed on this website that I encourage you to peruse.



Good luck!

Louise Masin Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Owner of Signing Families
http://www.SigningFamilies.com

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Additional Answers (1)

dgraab
dgraab , Parent writes:
Hi Jocelyn,

Sibling conflict is very common, and thankfully, there are things you can do as a parent to prevent, reduce or address the fights that arise between your children. http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Sibling_Conflicts/

In fact, Education.com has an entire info center of articles on the topic of "sibling rivalry and conflict":  http://www.education.com/topic/sibling-rivalry/

I bet my mom wishes she had a resource like this when I was growing up: my brother and I (21 months apart in age) fought terribly for many years, particularly around the age of your children now. By middle school, though, we were the best of friends (and remain close to this day).  

Good luck with your kids -- below are some additional links you may also find helpful.

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