Sibling Squabbles and Fighting

Battle Zone: The Backseat of Your Car

The Face-Off: Your 3-year-old tells your 5-year-old he's "a poopyhead," setting off a barrage of name-calling that escalates into a screaming match.

What's Going On: Put two little kids in a confined space, add boredom plus your need to concentrate on something other than them, and -- boom -- instant blowup. The cold, hard truth: "If kids don't have something appropriate to do, they'll do something inappropriate," says Dr. Kramer.

Keeping the Peace: Even for short rides, have activities ready: Sing along to a favorite CD, and take sticker books, Play-Doh, or a favorite toy. Backseat bickering is usually a sign of boredom, so try playing 20 Questions or "I spy" -- it's a way to get them looking out the window instead of annoying each other (and you). But if a battle erupts that distracts you from driving, pull the car over immediately. "Sometimes, if you stop and tell the kids that you're not moving until the fighting ends, it will shock them into silence," says Sank.

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment