Here is one problem that parents have with their children that keeps on coming up. I would like to address that right now and give you a handle on what to do about it:

My teen is 13 years old. I want to know how to make him stop arguing and yelling at me when I speak to him or ask him to do something. I want him to obey me when he is told to do something. –Cindy

I have a 13 yr old son w/ ADD. I want him to stop picking on his 8 y o sister. Janet

I have 2 daughters of 15 and 13 years. They hate each other and are jealous all the time:
– They are fighting all time
– They both are very good students and nice girls, but can’t be together.

I am really interested in the teen program. I have a 13 1/2 yr. old boy and an 8 yr. old boy. I would like help with sibling rivalry. Brandy Varni

The problem with sibling rivalry is that it is not really a problem. Sibling rivalry is normal. It is something that happens in every society, in all cultures, and it has occurred since the dawn of man.

Since sibling rivalry is a normal part of human development it is hard to ‘treat’ it. I feel the best thing you can do is to understand why it is there, how it can benefit your children, and the things that you can do to minimize it.

I wrote about sibling rivalry at great length before. The URL of the article is at:

But there is one idea, which I did not mention in the article, that I would like to share with you. This is something you can do with your children that will minimize, if not eliminate the problem of sibling rivalry in your home.

Here is the basic principle:

The best way to establish peace within any group of individuals where there is ongoing discord is to get the members involved in a project with a desirable goal and which can only be achieved if they work together. That means that if you can continually devise ways that your children need to work together to achieve a common goal, they will be much less likely to fight among themselves and they will actually begin to like each other.

Here are examples of situations you can create:

Plan a trip to somewhere that your children want to go. Then ‘discover’ that your car battery is dead and that your children have to push the car to get it moving so that you can get it started. (Note: this will not work if your car has an automatic transmission.)

Have a ‘break’ in your water supply. Send your kids to the neighbors with buckets to get water.

Plan a family picnic or barbeque, but at the last minute have something come up. Tell your kids that unless they want to cancel, they will have to go to the market to buy and then prepare the food for the family.

Rent canoes and have you and your spouse in one and the battling children in the other. You might even try a race (as long as you let them win).

Get ADHD and ODD
Teen Behavior Help

for children 12 and older

Any activity that your battling children will want to do, but will require their joint cooperation in order to do it, will reduce sibling rivalry. The scenarios should not appear engineered by you.

You will also need to do this a lot. Sibling rivalry is natural and it runs deep. This will not be a quick fix. However, if you do this often enough, the sibling rivalry will slowly fade away.


Anthony Kane, MD

P S At this point, for the benefit of everyone I would like your input.

Please comment below with anything that you have tried or any ideas that you have that you and other parents can use to get your children to work together for a common goal.

P P S I want to let you know that I am working on something very special for you.

I don’t want to announce it yet because it’s not ready, but be sure to check your email on Friday.


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