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Parenting Q&A: My Daughters Won't Stop Fighting

Parenting Q&A: My Daughters Won't Stop Fighting

Q. My kids never stop arguing. They elbow each other in the backseat, fight over toys, taunt one another and it just never ends! If one is playing with something, the other one grabs it. They constantly mimic each other. How can we get them to find peace as sisters?

A.: I'm 45 and my sister, 41, is my best friend, but I remember the days of pulling her down the hall by her hair. Take a deep breath and give them permission to dislike each other. Tell them very clearly that they do not have to like each other, but they have to act polite to each other or there will be consequences. Create a house respect policy; post the policy for all to see. Do not give warnings. One strike and they are out.
To see Lonna's list of tips to get squabbles under control,


  • No name calling or privileges revoked for both
  • No physical contact or privileges revoked for both
  • Toys not shared are taken from both
  • No mimicking or privileges are lost by both
  • Fighting in the car and any activity is called off for both
  • After a while a few things will happen. They will learn to work together if the negative consequences affect the aggressor as well as the victim. They will settle into a calmer existence and eventually find a relationship with each other.

    Parenting expert and Montessori school director, Lonna Corder has been doling out advice for 25 years as a teacher, parent/child consultant and on television. For more information, visit
    — Lonna Corder

    If you're at your wit's end about an issue and want another take on the situation, private message your question to lilsugar. We'll be running this feature all week!


    Join The Conversation
    Baluk Baluk 8 years
    I'm not sure this is the best advice! I haven't read many of Lonna's bits and completely agreed. I have just finished a great book by Lawerence J. Cohen called Playful Parenting. He had a chapter dedicated to sibling rivalry. His suggestion would be to play with both children so they need to team up against you. As well as set time for each individually where they get to choose what to play/go with you. They each get special time with you. From reading this book and from coming from a family of 5 girls, I know a lot of sibling rivalry comes from the fact that the child does not feel that get the same or needed attention from the parent. if you can fulfill this need in both of them, the rivalry should diminish.
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