When your kids fight, how do you respond?

When your kids fight, do you:
a. Attend to the one who is upset?
b. Go talk to the one who lashed out?
c. Ignore it?

d. Yell at all of them?

The correct answer is A.

If one of your children is visibly upset, your first priority is to comfort them. Only when everyone is calm, can you begin to address the problem and help to solve it.

If your kids are bickering, try to let them resolve it on their own. You may need to ask them what they are arguing about, restate the question and tell them you have confidence that they will be able to come up with a solution that works for everyone, together. Then, you can leave them and wait to see if and how they resolve it.

When all parties are calm (you included), then your job when you talk to your children is to show them how their angry feelings can be safely expressed. Bear in mind, that you absolutely must try not to attack (verbally or physically) the child who lashed out. For example, instead of saying:

“You’re a bad girl! Why did you hit your brother when he only wanted to play with you?”

Try saying:

“No hitting! Tell your brother how angry you are using your words, not your hands.”


Understand that:

1. Yelling is NOT communicating

2. Adults who shout come across as SCARY and intimidating to children

3. Yelling at young children can cause a fight, flight or freeze response that is HARMFUL to their brain formation & behavior

4. Using a healthy and calm alternative to yelling does NOT mean that you are letting your kids get away with anything.