How to Teach Kids the Consequences of Fighting with Younger Kids
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Learning the consequences of fighting is the first step to stopping it.

Kids often resort to fighting to get their feelings across, usually because they lack the skills to express themselves in more adult ways. Your main aim should be coming up with a load of solutions. Remember the adage "Show, don't tell." That applies to fighting kids, too. Children don't like being told what and what not to do because they like to feel in control. They like to prove themselves. For this reason, instead of telling your little one not to fight, show him how to avoid fighting. Give your little boy a challenge. Say something along the lines of, "Listen to Michael's problem, then put yourself in his position." Provide him with those essential skills needed to prevent or put an end to a fight.


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    Lay down rules. Tell your little boy that it’s wrong to shout, swear and lash out -- then make clear certain consequences of fighting. For example, one consequence could be taking away TV rights. Tell him you’re not being mean or unfair, but trying to stop any pain from being caused or feelings hurt. Say, "I don't want you to get yourself hurt, so fighting means no TV." If his fighting leads to consequences -- like a bruised cheek -- remind him that fighting is what caused his pain. According to parenting specialist Elaine Wilson, by allowing kids to become aware of the consequences of their actions, they become aware of responsibilities surrounding their actions, too.
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    Break it up. Put the fighters in different corners and give them a bit of space to breathe. Make them think about the possible consequences of being physically aggressive. Ask your kid, “What might have happened if you were poked in the eye?” Ask both children what it was that caused the outburst and what better ways there might be to have resolved it. It’s usually something painfully trivial, so this shouldn’t be a difficult question!
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    Listen to the children. Let them know that you are listening. Talk to them individually before bringing them together again. Push both children into talking about what made them feel the way they did, what started the fight and what they think might have happened if they’d continued. Tell them to look each other in the eyes and resolve it together. Sometimes, something as simple as "Tell each other how you feel" will open up loads of doors and get the kids communicating. Usually, they’ll find it in them to forgive each other before the explanations even start!
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    Challenge your little guy to apologize. It allows each kid to show an understanding of his own part in the fight, giving him the opportunity to accept certain responsibilities and consequences. When you are able to persuade a child to apologize after a violent disagreement, you’ve almost won the battle. When your little boy can stand up and say “I’m sorry for hitting you, and I was wrong to say you’re not a good football player,” you know that he's making progress.


  • Be a role model to your child -- demonstrate passive solutions to disagreements.Teach your child certain consequences before he is in the position to start a fight.Praise the child whenever he doesn't resort to violence.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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