My kids are fighting with each other for no reasons. They are twins (4 year old). Sometime they get too serious. Punishment is not the way I really like. Please share some cool ideas.

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    Please add a few specific examples of the situations in which the kids fight, to help answer your question. What usually happens before the fight to precipitate it? What have you tried to resolve the fights? How do they typically resolve the fights on their own? Nov 2, 2020 at 14:20
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    Please add details, indeed. We don't really do "big" questions on this site - we prefer more narrow questions that can be answered briefly. Right now, I imagine a dozen books just on my (virtual/physical) bookshelf that could answer your question!
    – Joe
    Nov 2, 2020 at 21:30

2 Answers 2


I recommend starting with acknowledging and accepting the feelings your siblings have toward each other (or in general). Specific acts do not have to be necessarily accepted. In particular, real physical fighting (as opposed to play fighting) should be off-limits in most cases. See more about this and many other useful tips in Faber and Mazlish (2012).


Faber, Adele, and Elaine Mazlish. Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too. 1st ed., W. W. Norton & Company, 2012. https://www.amazon.com/Siblings-Without-Rivalry-Children-Together/dp/0393342212

Brothers and sisters need to have their feelings about each other acknowledged:

Child: I'm gonna kill him! He took away my new skates.
With words that identify the feeling:
"You sound furious!"
With wishes:
"You'd wish he'd ask before using your things."
With symbolic or creative activity:
"How would you feel about making a 'Private Property' sign and hanging it on your closet door?"
Children need to have their hurtful actions stopped:
"Hold it! People are not for hurting!"
and shown how to discharge angry feeling acceptably:
"Tell him with words how angry you are. Tell him, 'I don't want my skates used without my permission!'"

(p. 30)

How to handle the fighting:

Level I. Normal Bickering.

  1. Ignore it. Think about your next vacation.
  2. Tell yourself the children are having an important experience in conflict resolution.

Level II. Situation Heating up. Adult Intervention Might Be Helpful.

  1. Acknowledge their anger.
    “You two sound mad at each other!”
  2. Reflect each child’s point of view.
    “So Sara, you want to keep on holding the puppy, because he’s just settled down in your arms. And you Billy, feel you’re entitled to a turn too.”
  3. Describe the problem with respect.
    “That’s a tough one: Two children and only one puppy.”
  4. Express confidence in the children’s ability to find their own solution.
    “I have a confidence that you two can work out a solution that’s fair to each of you…and fair to the puppy.”
  5. Leave the room.

Level III: Situation Possibly Dangerous.

  1. Inquire:
    “Is this a play fight or a real fight?” (Play fights are permitted. Real fights are not.)
  2. Let the children know:
    “Play fighting by mutual consent only.” (If it’s not fun for both, it’s got to stop.)
  3. Respect your feelings:
    “You may be playing, but it’s too rough for me. You need to find another activity.”

Level IV: Situation Definitely Dangerous! Adult Intervention Necessary.

  1. Describe what you see. “I see two very angry children who are about to hurt each other.”
  2. Separate the children. “It’s not safe to be together. We must have a cooling-off period. Quick, you to your room, and you to yours!”

(pp. 144-145)

Siblings Without Rivalry: Parenting Books Cliff Notes | My Year On Mat Leave: https://matleave.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/siblings-without-rivalry-parenting-books-cliff-notes/


Punishment is not something bad. Of course you should NEVER hit your children, but a stern talking too can show them you are serious and that they did something wrong. Other possible punishments could be temporarily taking away their toys/candy or put them on a seat they aren't allowed off.

But besides punishment you can only ask them why they do it and try to explain to them why that's not a good reason...but 4 year old's are usually evasive when asked such questions so getting a straight answer will be difficult.

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