At what point should you become concerned about your children fighting?

Thanks to our brand partner, Ford

Your kid comes shrieking up to you with big fat crocodile tears rolling down their cheeks.

“Mu-uu-ummmmy… *SOB* Stacey BIT ME!”

In the next room, screams. In the distance, sirens.

Sigh. Just another Friday.

But do you ever wonder whether your kids will ever grow out of this hair-pulling, punching-the-lights-out-of-each-other phase? And should you intervene or just let them tire themselves out?

On This Glorious Mess this week, Holly Wainwright and Ben Fordham muse on their own family fights.

Listen: When does sibling fighting go too far? (Post continues…)

According to Holly Wainwright, your sparring offspring are entirely normal. No matter how well-behaved, all siblings do it.

“My kids are seven and five and they do fight quite a lot,” Holly says.

“Somebody will clock somebody and before you know it they’re screaming, rolling around.”

So when do you call a time-out on the pinching and slapping?

Child Psychologist Dr. Kimberley O’Brien told Essential Kids the turning point is when the most sensitive member of the family is affected.

If you sense the family dynamic changing, it might be time for a family meeting.

But if your kids seem relatively unscathed and go back to playing together 30 seconds later, just let them fight it out.


Sometimes, the easiest way to remind yourself it’s normal is to think back to your own childhood.

“We used to exaggerate injuries… If someone hit me or scratched me it wouldn’t be unusual for me – before going and showing the injury to mum and dad – to give it a little bit of an extra scratch,” remembers Ben Fordham.

“Sometimes it was a case of trading off the injury, you’re like ‘that sucked getting hurt, but this is gonna be real fun showing this injury to mum and dad and see what happens to you.'”

“We still have disagreements, we still occasionally fight… But we still love each other,” Ben says of his older sister Sarah and younger brother Nick.

“I don’t think it’s a big deal. I don’t think it’s one of those things that is going to destroy a sibling friendship.”

And if you’re lucky, one day they might even apologise.

“I’ve got an older brother, he’s two years older than me, and we used to fight like cat and dog when we were little,” Holly says.

“One day he turned around to me and said ‘I want to apologise to you Holly, because sometimes I think about how horrible I was to you and I wonder, is that the reason you didn’t do so well in your exams at school?'”

How much do your kids fight?

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This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Ford.