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By: Tammy Sassoon, M.s.ed

Dear Tammy,

I have 3 children ages 7, 9, and 10, and they fight with each other so often that I really wonder how normal this is. Do you have any tips
or suggestions to offer me that would help them be kinder to each other?


Looking for Peace

Dear Looking for Peace,

Many parents describe what you are experiencing, and I believe the reason for
that is that it is human nature to be selfish and competitive. Our job is to motivate our children to rise above that, and become kind and giving people. How that can be achieved?

Firstly, we must understand that changing a culture of a home is very exciting and requires hard work and consistency! If you remember from last month’s article, hard work is something to be enthusiastic about!

So, you are describing the current culture in your home as one of competition. Children only fight when they want something they can’t have or they are worried that they will lose something that is rightfully theirs. Your goal is going to be to change the culture of your home from one of competition, to one of having a
“win-win” attitude. Go right ahead and teach your children (not in the midst of the fighting, of course) that there are two ways to go through life. One is with a “win-lose” attitude, and one is with a ‘win-win’ attitude. People who think “win-lose” can’t ever be happy because they do not realize that they can be successful EVEN if other people (in this case siblings) are successful. They always feel like they never have enough, and that is a sure recipe for misery. People who think “win-win” can be much happier because they realize that Hashem has enough success and abundance for everyone to enjoy (tailor made for each person).

Another tactic I am suggesting is that you teach your children about the different levels of viewing other people’s differences. Tell them that there are 3 levels:

Lowest: Shunning differences

Medium:Tolerating differences

Highest:Celebrating differences

When people celebrate differences they realize that it’s exciting that every human being (including their siblings) adds value to the world and to their family, and one must come out of themselves in order to recognize that.

We want our children to learn how to celebrate differences, because then they are able to:

•Look out for the each other.

•Go out of their way to make each child feel important.

•Be happy for each other when they are successful.

We want our children to believe that thinking “win-win” and “celebrating differences” are difficult things to do, and are only reserved for those who CHOOSE a strong, capable, and confident path. Therefore, you should practice the following two concepts:

1.Go out of your way to comment on them having a “win-win” attitude, or celebrating differences even if they are simply not fighting because they are spacing out.
(i.e. Your brother just got a new pair of nice gloves, and you are thinking “win-win” because you know that you have exactly what you need).

2. Talk often about how “Mature People” choose to have a “win-win” attitude, and understand that other people’s differences are something to be celebrated and excited about. (All children want to be considered mature and capable, and we are teaching children what types of choices strong and capable people make.)

...and of course, above all, we need to always practice whatever we preach! So, make sure that you are living your life with a “win-win” attitude, and celebrating differences of people in your own life. Let your children see that you are happy for your friends, neighbors, and relatives when they experience success, and that you embrace everyone you meet with an attitude of the camaraderie you are hoping for your own children to have.

Submit a question
to Tammy

If you are a frustrated mom or dad looking for answers to a specific problem at home, or want to improve your parenting skills in a certain area, please send an email to
editor@communitym.com.Tammy will suggest new and effective parenting strategies that actually work!