Parenting Tip #17 It's Ok to let Our Kids Argue but Draw the Line at Name Calling

Our kids need to learn how to resolve conflict.  Let's be honest the constant bickering & arguing may be annoying to listen to however, it is a teaching opportunity for our kids to learn how to argue & resolve conflict. There are a lot of articles & ideas out there about how to stop the arguing, bickering, squabbles, or whatever you want to call it. My suggestion is to have rules about arguing. For example, no name calling.

When I was growing up, my sister & I constantly argued. As a therapist who studied the Quality of Sibling Relationships in college & graduate school there are some logical reasons why we argued. For example, we are the same sex, similar age, competitive, & so on. We are also extremely close & could play Barbies for hours together. That being said, we argued & bickered constantly to the point that my mom would beg us on her birthday & holidays to stop arguing for the day as a gift to her. We tried, didn't work until we got older.

My step-kids, who are twins, constantly bickered. My husband & I dealt with it by using humor. We nicknamed them the Bickersons. It made since that they argued in part because they are twins, granted 1 is a boy & 1 is a girl. They were also in the same class with the same group of kids in a small school from preschool through 7th grade. They spent almost all of their time together. The only time I yelled at my stepson was when he started name calling. On one occasion, he called her fat. I was driving & tired of the bickering after a long day at the beach. Of course after I yelled, the car went silent. When we finally stopped to eat, I hugged my stepson & explained that I knew he was a much kinder loving person & calling someone names was not him. I also told him how much I loved him which was part of the reason I was frustrated with his behavior.

In another situation, my stepsons were arguing. My husband intervened when my oldest stepson called his brother stupid. My husband explained that calling someone stupid made him look ignorant & reminded him that he was not ignorant. Again, he reinforced that we don't name call. It only makes us look bad.

Now there are a lot of articles & social media posts about how different parents handle sibling arguing. I tend to draw the line at embarrassing & humiliating our kids. I do agree that there are times we have to separate them, teach them to create space so they can calm down, & teach them how to listen & respect others feelings.

Contact Me



1301 Redwood Way, Suite 203, Petaluma, CA 94954


10:00 am-7:00 pm


10:00 am-7:00 pm


10:00 am-7:00 pm


10:00 am-7:00 pm


10:00 am-7:00 pm


9:00 am-2:30 pm