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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Fighting Brothers

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Sue Ellen,

I have 2 sons ages 11 and 12.  They don’t get along at all and fight a lot. It usually starts out playing and ends up in a brawl.  They bruise each other and destroy everything in their path.  I am at my wits end. What should I do?

Sharon

Dear Sharon:

I am already exhausted by just reading your email.   I envision 2 big boys crushing your coffee table as they roll in tandem toward your TV, and how you must fear watching your new flat screen break into a thousand pieces!  Your sweet little Chihuahua  is trembling under the couch, where she usually stays when your boys come into the room.  You can see her terrified little face peeking out, hoping the storm will soon be over.

Why is it that some siblings are best friends all their life, and others dislike each other from birth to death?  It is a mystery to me.   This dilemma does not have an easy solution.  It’s true that all kids are unique and will respond differently to the same interventions parents use to redirect bad behaviors.  In other words, the same discipline you use for your boys may not bring about the same results.  But when you use different tactics on each boy it is almost certain they will argue that you are favoring one over the other.  Oh…will the angst ever stop?

I have mulled this over for several days and asked other people, what they would do.  Here are some things you might want to consider:

1.  Get family counseling

2.  Send your boys to anger management classes

3.  Find separate activities for them to get involved in, such as sports, arts, clubs; etc

4.  Everybody is busy, but try to have family game time together so you can model

Good behavior

5.  When they fight in the living room, ground them from that room for a day.  Whatever

Room they fight in, ground them from that room for a day (pray they never fight in the

Bathroom)

6.  De-escalate the fighting before it starts by re-directing them.  (You might want to take

A parenting class to help you with this)

7.  Find ways for them to burn off energy other than pounding on each other.

8.  Make sure you are taking care of yourself and remember to stay calm.

Siblings have fought since the beginning of time.  The situation you are in with your boys is not that uncommon, but it most certainly is exhausting and stressful.   Don’t give up.  I know you must love them a lot, or you wouldn’t be reaching out for help.  Who knows…as adults, they may become the best of friends.

Please email your parenting questions to sejackson@awarecentraltexas.org and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

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