“Mom, he’s bothering me!”


What should you do when siblings fight?

That opening line sounds all too familiar doesn’t it? Picture this. You are sitting in the front passenger seat in the family mini van reading a magazine while you are on your way to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Your kids are quiet in the back until you hear, “Mom, he’s bothering me!” Your son is throwing small wadded up pieces of paper into your daughter’s hair. What do you do when your children are fighting?

My children are still little but they do fight on occasion. It isn’t anything near what I described above, but they do get on each other’s nerves. My oldest (daughter age 11) likes to touch and get in her siblings faces until they start whining. She usually says that she just wants to give them a hug or kiss. She just hasn’t learned how to keep her hands to herself. What do I usually do about this situation? I just tell her to stop and keep her hands to herself. But so far this doesn’t always work.

My middle child (daughter age 33 mos) is turning into a tattle tale. If her brother or sister start doing anything that she thinks is wrong she’ll tell you so. She also likes to yell at her sister. For example, Courtney loves to sing to her MP3 player and this drives Ciara nuts. If Courtney isn’t singing a song that Ciara likes she will tell her to be quiet or sometimes she’ll even say, “Shut up, Courtney!” We don’t tolerate those words spoken from our two-year-old so a time out usually follows.

Our youngest (son age 15 mos) loves to follow his older sister around. He has also figured out how to get her upset. This usually involves food. If Ciara is eating a snack or drinking something from a sippy cup, Conan will follow her around until she sets that snack or sippy cup down. Once she does that he snatches up the beverage or food item. Of course this gets her upset. War over the juice box has begun. But how do you punish a one year old? My husband and I usually get a good chuckle when he steals her snacks. We are just starting to teach him right from wrong. But this is a hard concept for little ones to understand.

What do you do when your children fight?

(This article was originally published in December, 2008)

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