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How do I get my tweens to stop fighting?

My kids, a 13-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, are constantly fighting over everything.  They are always yelling, screaming, threatening, hitting, and taking each other's belongings in retaliation.  They both have to be right and they both have to have the last word.  I’ve tried separation, time outs, sending them to their rooms, removing privileges, grounding, talking it through, and even therapy. But nothing gets through to them, and I’ve been dealing with it for over a year.  I'm at my wit's end.

Submitted by sriggs15

Siblings need to be taught to be each other’s best friend.  And positive reinforcement works better than negative reinforcement in most sibling situations.  Sit down with both kids and set up a "best friends club." To be in the club, they have to be each other’s best friend. Establish the rules: being nice to each other, no hitting, no tattling, hugging each other after a disagreement, and even defending each other to their parents. However, defending each other should never include lying to protect their best friend; the truth is always important.  Try to minimize asking them about each other’s actions so they are not put in a position to rat out their best friend. Plus, being in the club will lead to special rewards and treats.  Each day of being a best friend brings a special weekend event, outing, favorite meal, extra time with favorite TV shows, family movie nights, etc. Best friends have more fun together than sibling rivals , so show them how much fun it can be.

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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That might work if my son WANTED to be friends with his sister. He is definitely not at that point. My son acts and says he is indifferent to EVERYTHING. He verbally states and physically shows no interest in, or even liking his sister. He even flat out has said he just doesn’t care, unless it has something to do with video games. So then she does something she knows will annoy him, to get his attention, and then the fighting starts. They know it gets under my skin and they purposefully try dragging me into their conundrum. I've tried explaining to him that maybe if he gave her more attention, she might not mess with him as much, he won't listen. Any other suggestions?
Submitted by sriggs15