What to do when your kids don’t get along?

You dream of family harmony, but your teen kids are constantly at each other’s throats. Is there anything a parent can do to promote sibling love?

Teen fighting can be hard on parents. You all live in the same household, and keeping the peace between your kids can feel like a full-time job. It’s natural for teens to fight with their siblings, but if the fights are getting extreme, there might be a deeper issue at hand.

A Lack of Sibling Love: Is It a Real Problem?

The first step is to determine what’s going on. The issue may be serious if:

  • One or more of your children is under serious distress because of the fighting.
  • The arguments are affecting the flow of everyday life.
  • The fights have turned physical.
  • The problem has been going on for a while and seems to be getting worse.

Once you’ve determined this is a serious problem, you can figure out your next step.

Restoring Family Harmony: What’s the Root Issue?

Take an honest look at the situation and try to determine when the problem began. Did the fighting start around adolescence? The hormonal changes and social pressures that are present during these years can affect a teen’s mood. If you have two kids struggling in adolescence, it makes sense that things would be tense.

However, it’s also possible that one child is the cause of the problem. Lashing out at siblings can be a sign of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or other problems. If the issue is more general, family therapy is a good idea. If the problem seems to be caused by one of your kids, you can look into getting them individual therapy or other forms of help.

Sometimes, getting through teen issues is as simple as sitting down and talking through things. If you do have one problematic child, take the time to have a discussion about the issue at hand. Wait for a moment when your child is calm. Point out that you’ve noticed how upset they seem with their siblings. Let them know you’re concerned about their well-being. Your teen may be holding onto resentment toward their siblings for reasons you were unaware of.

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