How Can I Get My Children to Stop Arguing?

By Lynn Murtagh-Hartje

Three self-discipline skills are missing when children can't get along.  These skills are Social Skills, Communicating effectively and Resolving Mutual Problems.


Tell your children that it is appropriate to use the same social skills with siblings as they do with their friends or even strangers.  Help your children practice respectful greetings with each other in the morning and after school.  Remind them to use good manners in all their discussions with one another, and compliment them when you see positive interactions.


Teach your children the following concepts of communicating effectively.

1.   You can respect another's point of view even if you disagree.

2.   Teasing, one-upping and taunting are not effective forms of communication.

3.   Body language, tone and gestures are just as important in communicating, as are spoken words.

Repeat what your child has said using the same negative tone and then model a positive tone.  When you are sure your children understand the difference between good and bad communication tones, simply say, "Say the same thing again but with a better tone."  Or "Try again to say what you need without sarcasm."

Begin early and teach children to talk to one another when they have hurt or angry feelings.  "Use words and tell your brother what you do not like." Would be one way to prompt good communication.


First, set a few ground rules in your home that apply to any disagreement. No hitting, name-calling, putdowns, yelling.

Be respectful.

If any of these rules are broken parents can step in with a verbal warning and if necessary an adult imposed consequence such as a time out.

Explain to children that while hitting cannot solve problems, they can use words to state their likes and dislikes.  When caught in a conflict, coach children by asking them to think of three ways they can solve the problem.  Give suggestions so children learn there are many alternatives to violence or disrespect.

Reproduction of this article in whole or in part allowed with proper credit given to:

Discipline With Purpose
3406 Hurstbourne Ridge Blvd.
Louisville, KY 40299