8 Strategies to Deal With Fighting Within Your Family

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I have been fighting with my son for a long time. He’s always fighting with his brother. I had all the patience in the world to deal with fighting between siblings but it is getting to me now.

How do you get them to stop fighting? It is making our life miserable! What should I do?

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Fighting among family members is fairly common. The source of the fighting and the family members that are involved may differ, but whatever the situation is, it can be quite difficult to deal with.

Kids Who Live in Homes With Fighting

Before I share with you some tips to help reduce fighting, let me start by sharing the most important fact that parents need to know.

Simply stated it is:  Kids who live in homes with fighting are more likely to become fighting adults. There’s a direct connection between fighting kids and fighting adults.

The study released by Canada’s Department of Justice (www.justice.gc.ca) found that “Young people who witness family violence as children are at an increased risk of becoming perpetrators or victims of violence when they grow up.”

The study also found that “Twenty-five percent of men and 35% of women reported witnessing abuse during childhood” (ibid).

So it’s in every parent’s best interest to work on reducing friction between family members and stop fighting before it happens. We all want our children to grow up happy and mentally healthy.

This will take a lot of hard work on the part of the parents.

So how do you stop fighting? Here are 8 strategies to try

1. Remain calm and cool and don’t take fighting personally

When fighting occurs, parents often feel that they are fighting with the whole world. They may get angry at their spouse, kids, in-laws, etc. This is not helpful to anyone involved! Parents who remain calm will be able to deescalate a dispute before things get out of hand.

2. Start with yourself and eliminate fighting within your own self

If you are fighting with your spouse, the children will learn to do the same thing. This is why fighting first starts at home and not outside in the world that kids live in.

If parents can’t get it together, fighting will be seen as a normal way of living by the children. They will not realize that fighting is a dysfunction and a problem in their lives, but rather fighting will seem acceptable to them.

3. Learn how to apologize and say sorry

This may sound silly, especially if you’re fighting with your spouse or parents, but it’s important to learn and practice. The more you fight and do not apologize, the less likely fighting will ever stop.

If fighting starts to occur between your spouse or parents, quickly apologize before fighting escalates to a whole new level of fighting.

4. Respect each other’s differences

No two people are alike and the same goes for family members. You may be very different from your parents or children. For example, you may like to keep the house very clean and organized while your spouse is more relaxed about this.

They may be just fine with fighting and messes around the house but that doesn’t mean fighting is acceptable! The same goes for fighting among kids. Even if one child loves to fight, it doesn’t mean fighting is okay.

5. Set up ground rules and consequences for fighting

One reason fighting occurs among family members is because they don’t understand the rules of fighting and that there will be consequences if it occurs.

Parents should come up with some ground rules for fighting before the fighting starts to occur within the family. Some ideas include: fighting is not allowed, fighting is unacceptable and fighting will result in some sort of punishment.

6. Work together as a team

No one wins when fighting occurs within the family. If the fighting continues, eventually everyone loses – even the kids!

When fighting occurs between parents, it’s because they’re frustrated with each other over something that happened or not happening. They may even blame each other for fighting and assume that fighting is the other person’s fault.

This again will only lead to fighting becoming acceptable in the family. Parents can work together as a team to overcome fighting instead of fighting in order to win an argument.

7. Set a good example for fighting

Kids will learn to fight from fighting and watching fighting occurring around them. If fighting is seen as an acceptable method of communication, kids will see fighting as acceptable too.

Kids need to see parents dealing with fighting in healthy ways – such as talking things out or using other nonviolent management strategies. Then the fighting will become less acceptable among the family members and fighting may even disappear over time.

8. Be loving to each other in fighting situations

Parents should strive to love everyone – including fighting kids! Research has proven that fighting and anger can be reduced by being kind, tender with fighting kids rather than fighting back or punishing fighting kids for fighting.

Parents should never fight each other in front of the kids. Kids will then learn that fighting between fighting spouses is acceptable and fighting will be learned and transmitted in the family.

Instead, parents can demonstrate non-violent methods of dealing with fighting such as talking things out.

FAQs

How long does it take for a divorce with kids to level out and fighting stop?

It really varies from family to family. On average it can take five years or more for fighting and divorce stress within the family to level out and stop fighting between kids.

How can I get my two kids to stop fighting with one another?

Try role-playing fighting in a non-threatening way. Kids don’t like fighting and they really do want to get along with one another.

Roleplay fighting by having them take turns fighting you, then switch roles so that you can see what it’s like to be on their side during the fighting.

Ask questions such as “what made this fighting situation difficult?” or “what fighting methods would you suggest to help resolve fighting in the future?” while fighting so you can learn about fighting from fighting kids.

You can also have fighting children describe what they think of their fighting sibling and ask questions such as “how did your fighting brother/sister feel when he/she was being fought with?”

How to deal with a wife and mother-in-law fighting and dragging kids into it?

People fighting together doesn’t mean fighting is acceptable. Both your wife and mother-in-law should understand fighting isn’t okay with you and that fighting in front of the kids will not be tolerated.

People fighting together doesn’t mean fighting is acceptable, it means people are struggling to find a solution for whatever is bothering them.

One option would be to have fighting people take turns fighting in front of the kids (or with kids in another room) and then talking it out when fighting is done.

How to get kids to read scriptures without fighting?

First, fighting doesn’t help kids read scriptures and fighting won’t get them to want to read scriptures. Instead, being loving and kind will get fighting kids to want to read scriptures.

Arrange a peaceful time when fighting is not happening in the family to work on reading scriptures (before fighting normally occurs for example).

How to deal with two kids fighting over a game?

Try to listen and understand fighting kids’ feelings. Look for a win-win solution instead of fighting over who wins the game.

Help fighting children brainstorm other ways they can share the fighting object (more fighting objects, fighting at different times when fighting is not happening, fighting on equal terms).

Create strong family rules that encourage fighting kids to be kind to each other.

How to professionally intervene with kids fighting

Families fighting is best addressed by family members together to find solutions for fighting problems so that stress within the family can be reduced.

If professional intervention feels necessary, seek a professional who deals with families (family counselor) rather than professionals who deal with individuals fighting alone in therapy such as individual therapists or psychologists.

How to deal with fighting kids in summer

Summer fighting is a normal part of fighting kids growing up. Make sure children have their own stuff to take with them to summer camp or other destinations (games, music on an iPod, cell phone).

This will reduce the number of situations where there is an opportunity for a fight to begin.

How to Stop Your Spouse From Fighting With Your Kids

Do not threaten to divorce your spouse if he or she doesn’t refrain from fighting. This tactic won’t work and it will only make things worse.

The reasons are two-fold: 1) threatening your spouse with divorce is a form of fighting that will cause fighting within marriage (marital stress), and 2) threatening your spouse with divorce does not improve the relationship between you and your spouse.

How does Fighting Affect Physical Health?

  • increased stress (increased blood pressure and heart rate)
  • increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity

What is the fighting risk to mental health?  Does fighting have any effect on your fighting mental health? It might. Fighting increases the risk of depression as well as anxiety, which can affect your lifespan.

How to stop fighting with kids sleeping in the same bed

If children sleep in the same bed, try to establish a quiet time (perhaps at night-time with lights out). Fighting is not allowed at these times.

Kids who are fighting with each other during this quiet time will have their objects taken away. Create an environment that is peaceful and helps the children relax and fall to sleep.

Conclusion

Every time you have a disagreement with someone, it takes its toll on your mental health. The more often you fight, the worse it is for your physical and emotional state of being.

You are not alone in this struggle to avoid conflict–most people get overwhelmed or frustrated when they can’t communicate their needs effectively. Follow these strategies so that you don’t needlessly resort to fighting among loved ones again soon.

Hello, my name is Lorie and I'm a mother of three beautiful kids. I have a masters of science in education, learning design, and technology. I like to share my experiences from raising 3 kids and review products I've found useful.

Hello, my name is Lorie and I'm a mother of three beautiful kids. I have a masters of science in education, learning design, and technology. I like to share my experiences from raising 3 kids and review products I've found useful.