“My kids won’t stop arguing and it’s driving everyone in the house up a wall!”

Oh my gosh, your teenagers won't stop arguing. What are you gonna do about it? That is today's
question on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist,
and I specialize in helping kids, teens, and families live happier lives. I run two organizations,
the Group Private Practice Teen Therapy Center, and the nonprofit organization Child and
Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California. Everyone, stay at noon. I join you
on Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions. Let's jump into today's. My kids, 14 and
15, will not stop fighting, and it's driving us all up a wall. They are constantly bickering
over any and every little thing. Everyone keeps saying they'll all grow it eventually, but
honestly, I don't know if our family can take it anymore. What can we do to make them get along?
Nothing. There's nothing you can do to make them get along. Now you can influence it. You can't
make anyone do anything. I know that's kind of splitting

hairs But I just want to set the record straight that there is no finger snap solution to this
problem My hunch is this issue is probably going on for a long time many years They're kind of
entrenched in this way of communicating in this relationship, and it's going to take a while
to help get them out There's a lot of bad habits probably entrenched in here. I have a lot of reasons
why this could be happening You know, again, haven't been doing it for a long time. Is this the
family dynamic? Is this how they watch their parents get along? Maybe the parents are divorced
and they don't get along and they fight all the time. Maybe not. Maybe the parents get along great.
You know, there could also be other issues. Are there some processing delays, which makes it
difficult to connect? Anyways, I'm gonna talk about this in a slightly different angle, in
a different way. I want to talk about a common reason why teenagers will bicker and fight. And
it's the same reason that many couples married

couples bicker and fight now. This is a generalization I understand that but go with me on this
and see if this makes it make sense to you. So a married couple They start kind of drifting apart
drifting apart and they're not talking as much and they're not connecting as much And so what
happens is this? This big ravine between them gets unbearable and they don't know how to cross
it or they don't trust the other person across with them So, what they do is, they start picking,
and poking, and antagonizing, and trying to control, right? And this creates arguments, arguments,
arguments, because the arguing is...

unconsciously more preferential than the cold distance. And, because at least there's the
connection. I'm not saying it's a healthy connection, but at least there's a connection through
the bickering. And, I think, oftentimes, teenagers will do the same thing. They will bicker
and fight, because they don't know how to connect with one another. They don't trust. They can
be cool with their friends because they trust their friends But they don't trust their little
brother or their big sister or whatever Combination of that there is and the more we can start
teaching these siblings Empathy and again, this is you know, a slow steady process. This is
not a finger snap solution They will start understanding how to connect with each other more
and some of that will become with maturity But some of that is you intervening now. Do you need
to intervene every time? No, you don't But if the interactions are getting verbally and physically
violent, you probably do need to step in because it's creating

trauma that is hard to repair. Kids are going to bicker, but if it's going out of control, you
may need to step up your game outside of, hey, you guys need to calm down, talk quietly, and figure
this out on your own. If it's getting to the point where really harsh language is being used,
or threats, or physical violence, you need to step in. And you may need to step in as sometimes
separately and together. It's gonna depend on the situation but helping One ways that I've
found at helping kids relate to the other one is let's say you've got a big sister a little brother
thing You talked a little sister without little brother there and you say hey if you had a big
brother What would you like him to be if you could design your perfect big brother? who would
that be and she would talk about how smart he'd be and funny and accepting, and he'd listen, and
you know, he'd drive her places, all those things that, you know, a 15 -year -old would want a
big brother to be. And then you say, well, would

you ever want to be that kind of big sister to your little brother? And at first, she'll say, no,
because he's annoying, right? And you have to help her look past just annoying, because if someone's
just annoying, then they have no humanity, have no value, and that's very one -dimensional
look of a person. And at 15, it may be difficult to look past that, but it's helping her get past
that. And one of ways to make sure that she doesn't feel like in some way you're favoring her brother.
You always step in to save the brother from her and then she's like, ah see you favor him which
makes him even more demonized and again you can flip around for the little brother big sister
or any other combination there is. So it's really important that you demonstrate empathy not
only towards your kids but to your partner to your ex -spouse you know what how do you take the
high road and again it's a tough thing to ask anyone to do especially when you're getting, you
know, attacked by your ex -spouse, if

you take the high road, your kids will eventually see it. Maybe not in the beginning. Again,
all this situation, this is a long, this is a marathon, you know? And eventually, you will help
them to connect. But if you're looking for the quick snap answer, there isn't one, and there
never will be one. You can try to just separate them, but they will find ways. They will find ways
to go into other's room and steal stuff and poke at each other or say snarky comments. And, you
know, so we have to find some way to help them come together through empathy and demonstrating
empathy. And even when you don't agree with one of your kid's point of view, show empathy for
their perspective and how they feel. And that will help them listen to you. And they'll listen
to you, maybe, just maybe, she'll listen to her little brother or he'll listen to his big sister,
right? It's a complicated issue. And if it's getting to the point where it's getting beyond
your capability because they don't want to listen

to you because you're their parents, maybe it's helpful if you get a therapist to intervene.
It's kind of what we do. It's kind of our specialty is helping bridge the gaps and help you be helping
people get along and connect with it with one another Especially, you know child and teen therapists.
It's kind of what we do Anyways, thank you for tuning in. We love your questions. Keep them coming
again My name is Kent Toussaint from teen therapy center and challenging counseling If you'd
like your question answered you can direct messages here on Facebook or you can email us at tips
on teens at teen Thanks again, have a great week, I'll see you next time guys, bye -bye.

If you’re raising siblings, the sound of arguing is probably a familiar one! And while the occasional fight is normal and expected, nonstop fighting can put a strain on everyone in the house. Combine argumentative teenage siblings with stay at home related cabin fever and the result is one very overwhelmed family. This week’s Tips On Teens question is from a parent wondering how to bring peace back into their teens’ lives:

“My kids (14 and 15) will NOT stop fighting and it’s driving us all up a wall. They’re constantly bickering over any and every little thing. Everyone keeps saying they’ll outgrow it eventually, but honestly I don’t know if our family can take it anymore! What can we do to make them get along?”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.