Quashing the Quarrels

Summer is here. The kids are out of school. They get a lot more time together. And it seems I'm constantly breaking up fights!

Why are they fighting?

They don't see mom and dad fighting. We try to teach them to love each other. We pray together. We study the scriptures as a family. Where have we gone wrong?

While it was on my mind, I confided in another {older, more experienced} parent about this challenge. He quickly retorted: "What...you thought your kids wouldn't fight?"

"Um...well...no, not like this."

I guess I was a little naive...and overly optimistic. I guess it is a very normal part of childhood to learn how to get along with siblings. And so that means this is a very normal challenge for parents to have.

But it doesn't mean I should get used to it, or stop working on it. King Benjamin taught his people, "...ye will not suffer your children that they...fight and quarrel one with another...ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another (Book of Mormon, Mosiah 4:14-15)."

We have all summer long to focus on helping them learn kindness, patience, love, & unselfishness.

We want to follow this counsel given by Elder Robbins in General Conference:
"When children misbehave, let’s say when they quarrel with each other, we often misdirect our discipline on what they did, or the quarreling we observed. But the do—their behavior—is only a symptom of the unseen motive in their hearts. We might ask ourselves, “What attributes, if understood by the child, would correct this behavior in the future? Being patient and forgiving when annoyed? Loving and being a peacemaker? Taking personal responsibility for one’s actions and not blaming?”
"How do parents teach these attributes to their children? We will never have a greater opportunity to teach and show Christlike attributes to our children than in the way we discipline them. Discipline comes from the same root word as disciple and implies patience and teaching on our part. It should not be done in anger. We can and should discipline the way that Doctrine and Covenants 121 teaches us: “by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness and pure knowledge” (verses 41–42). These are all Christlike be’s that should be a part of who we, as parents and disciples of Christ, are."
Any ideas on how to do this?
More posts coming up on this topic.


  1. This is a tough one Jen and believe me I haven't figured it out! One thing I tell my boys every day is "you boys are best friends" or "brothers should be best friends forever" etc. The other day they had a disagreement over something and I told them that it had made me sad. Blaise said "I know mum, we are meant to be best friends!" You just never know when and how something will stick but it is important to teach them principles and life lessons at a young age even if you think they aren't old enough to understand them yet.

  2. What a great principle to teach them! Thanks for the idea!

  3. This General Conference talk changed my being, true to its message. Whenever I learn something new about parenting (the Dog Whisperer has been my most recent parenting inspiration) or healthy eating (i.e. the movie Food Inc.) that I think I might want to try, I always defer to my children. I first explain what they are presenting and then ask what my children think about it. This is a really effective way to bring the older children aboard. They can cognate through the ideas, see their value, and then support me in trying to incorporate them.

  4. I love that idea of getting your children involved and invested by asking their opinion. I'm going to give that a try! Thanks for sharing.