Getting My Sons To Get Along

Dear Sara,

I have two sons ages fourteen and sixteen. I can’t tell you how many arguments and fights I have had to referee. This rivalry has been going on since they were toddlers. They each want to best the other. They are both good at sports and are very competitive. How can I get them to get along?

Dear Kerry,

Have you given any thought to how you play into this rivalry? This could be a bid for your attention with the winner getting your praise or the loser sympathy. Also, you may be inadvertently fueling the fire by comparing your two sons. Try not to let them draw you into their conflicts. They will be better off if you let them settle things between the two of them.

If you don’t feel that you have played a part in their games then it may be that your sons, being naturally competitive, have found on some level that this is fun for them. Your best bet may be to keep them separated. Encourage them to develop their own interests. In the next few years, your sons will grow and mature. Their rivalry maybe something in the past that are either forgotten or laughed about. They will probably become good friends and buddies.

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