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Tuesday, January 18

Extreme Sibling Rivalry


Larry and Dr. Berman try to help Donna and David recover their authority and strength.

Sibling rivalry is a problem that most families face, but what happens when the fighting spirals out of control? Today’s featured families are dealing with violence, profanity and, in some cases, use of weapons like BB guns. Learn about their stories below:


With a family of five living in a small hotel room, you might expect everyone’s nerves to be on edge. However, the cramped quarters have led the Johannes family to deal with sibling rivalry that verges on dangerous violence. Parents Donna and David say that their son Joshua is constantly tormenting his younger brother Kevin and they don’t know how to handle it. Expert Dr. Jenn Berman suggested that David spend more one-on-one time with his sons to help tone down their resentment. She also advised that they should set strict, consistent consequences for bad behavior. Video Clip: Larry and Dr. Berman try to help Donna and David recover their authority and strength.


17-year-old Taylor says he gets so annoyed by his 12-year-old sister Paige that he’ll squish her behind the door or pop her on the head to retaliate. Their mom Peggy says she believes the siblings fight because they’re so alike and that they’re both guilty of provoking each other. To break Paige and Taylor apart, Peggy and her other daughter are often stuck playing referee. Dr. Berman advised Peggy that because she lets her children get away with hitting each other, it reinforces the idea that it’s okay to hit people you love. She suggested that Peggy immediately introduce strict rules about hitting to curb the violence.


Shannon says that, every day in the Nickerson household, one of her children utters the words, “I’m going to kill you!” She adds that violence is also an everyday occurrence but that the kids only misbehave when their father isn’t around. 13-year-old Josh says that he can’t help fighting with 7-year-old Taylor because Taylor always uses crying fits to get her way. Dr. Berman suggested that family counseling may help Shannon regain control of her children.

Quick Clicks

Check out today’s Advice Archive article for parents:
Teach Your Children How To Resolve Conflict Without Using Anger Or Power

Are you dealing with sibling rivalry in your own family? Tell us about your situation.

Visit Dr. Jenn Berman’s website: