My kids won't stop fighting and I'm losing my mind

My kids won't stop fighting and I'm losing my mind

My kids fight constantly. I waved her away, then saw her mouth the word, "Emergency!"

I was in the middle of a sentence so I motioned her over to the notebook I had open in front of me. Handing her my pen, I indicated that she should write me a note.

This is what she needed to tell me so urgently:

Henry, of course, is her little brother. The two of them spent an awful lot of the summer bickering, arguing, fighting...are there any synonyms I'm missing? It's driving me out of my tiny mind and I don't know how to make it stop.

I've tried consequences. I've tried ignoring them. I've tried running around in a circle, flapping my arms and weeping (not really, but you get the idea). Nothing stops it.

I've even forced my daughter to play with my son, which seems to be the root of all the animosity—he wants to play with her, she wants to do her tween thing in her bedroom all by herself. On occasion, the fight then turns into a giggle-fest, but more often than not the bickering just escalates.

I had two siblings growing up and sure, they got on my nerves now and then. But time has softened my memories, and I was more than grateful to have both of them by my side when my dad passed away 10 years ago. In fact, that's one reason I wanted two kids.

Our daughter came out of the womb with opinions and she hasn't stopped sharing them since. It took us almost four years to even consider having a second kid, thanks to her very strong personality. Could we love another baby as much as we loved her? What would we do if we gave her a sibling and that kid grew up in her shadow?

But the idea of leaving our little girl on her own in the world if something happened to us was too much to bear. We wanted her to have another soul on this planet who shared her DNA and her history. So along came our son, our son who has a personality to match his sister's in terms of sheer wattage.

Our daughter definitely remembers being an only child—and sometimes expresses regret that those days are over—but we know she loves her brother deeply.

It's killing me to break up these fights. It saps my energy and makes an already challenging arrangement (I work from home) even more painful than it needs to be. I'm begging you, please, tell me how to make it stop.

Photo: Mark Hillary, Flickr

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

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