How to Deal with Kids Fighting

Your kids are fighting…again!

You should:
A) Get out your handy family water cannon from behind the fridge and break up the fight
B) Gather your kiddies around the table with mugs of herbal tea and help them to talk through their issues
C) Send them to their rooms until they cool down, or start snoring, whichever comes first
D) None of the above

According to Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, the answer is “D.”

By letting our children fight without parental intervention, Rabbi Hirsch explains, and letting them deal with the consequences of their arguments, we are teaching them one of life’s most crucial lessons– that fighting never pays.

Sara gets into a fight with her sister Rivka at 3 PM, declaring that she will “never, ever speak with you as long as I live!” but by 4 PM Sara realizes that the computer she needs to use to type up tomorrow’s book report is in Rivka’s room. Shimon fights with brother Moshe at 4 PM, telling him “you are the lowest scum that ever walked the face of this whole entire planet. I swear to G-d, I will never, ever, ever forgive you for this!” but by 5 PM realizes that he desperately needs to borrow Moshe’s soccer ball to play with his friends outside.

After children have gone through the humiliating and messy process of making up enough times, they learn that it’s preferable to just try to live in peace in the first place.

And what about children who never have to learn this lesson because their parents referee their inter-sibling struggles?

As adults those grown children will fight with their spouses, bosses, neighbors, and whoever does anything that is not 100% to their liking.

So, the next time your children fight, don’t send them to their rooms without supper, don’t scream at them to punch a pillow or “use their words” to get out their aggression, and don’t get out your handy dandy water cannon from behind the fridge.

Go into the kitchen, turn the music up load, wash a few dishes, and know that you are giving your children one of the greatest gifts a mom can give a child, the ability to live in peace with others.

*Based on the class of Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi, Parshat Korach 2010
**If a child is in danger of getting seriously hurt, then parental intervention is a must.

Photo courtesy of user Incendiary Mind


  1. what if they are hurting each other dangerously?
    what if one is bullying the other and the other is not capable of defending themselves? what if the one being hurt doesnt want to hurt back and so he comes to you to help him out so that he doesnt have to hurt back? nice to think about but not so simple.

  2. Hadassah Aber

    I teach three and four year olds – 24 kids at a time. When they are fighting I make them both sit down together -no matter who started – or why – and don’t let them get up until they both give each other permission to continue to play. This forces them either to settle it, get bored, agree to stop being mad, and sometimes just smile at each other so they can go back to playing.

  3. great advice, and I think a classroom situation is very different to a home situ.
    But, what about one child who constantly winds up the other? don’t we have to help him with his middos? how do you seperate that from the fighting that results?
    any advice welcome!

  4. good food for thought, as usual

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