Written by Doctor G

Sibling Warfare Over Homework?

Dr. G,

Well, school is back in full swing and my competitive children are now arguing over homework.  My daughter, in fifth grade, wants to take a break after school and my son, in third, gets his done right away.  Then, when he is playing, she is mad that he is finished and she has to buckle down and she puts up a huge fuss.   Also, he is really awful about rubbing it in.  WHAT should I do?

Claudia, in Harrisburg, PA

You don’t actually have to do anything.  You will, of course, because we are moms and moms DO stuff.  We worry and ponder and try to fix situations to make our children happier.  All of that is really loving but might not be necessary.

Your son is getting his homework done and then playing, and that works for him.  Great.

Your daughter recognizes her need for some after school time to relax, and then gets her work done.  Great!

Now you’re thinking – no, my kitchen table cannot be the site of melodrama and warfare each day!

I understand that the huge fuss your daughter is making before and during her homework is sucking the fun out of your evenings.  You could tune her out and see if she changes her behavior.  That would not be a bad lesson!  You could also sit with her sometime when there is no homework anywhere in sight (like on a weekend at the park) and talk to her about her dilemma.  Ask her to tell you about her frustration.  Then ask her for a couple of solutions.

When parents listen and show faith in our children’s abilities to handle their own problems, we are teaching resilience.  Your daughter will hear “I notice that you are upset, I care.”  Then she will hear “I know you can solve this.”  And she can, of course, by doing her homework earlier or believing in the advantages of her own schedule and ignoring her brother.  Which I bet is a skill she already has!

As for your son, you can also let this one be or take a more active role.  You can try to teach him a little more about empathy.  Teaching kids about empathy sometimes works when you have them imagine how they would feel in a certain situation.  More often they get it when they are a victim of bad behavior and you point out the similarity: “I understand why you were angry that Mick bragged about getting extra free time when he finished his math sheet.  I wonder if that is why your sister gets so mad at you when you brag about your homework being done…”

If you do not intervene, I am certain that your daughter will find an effective way to teach him how icky it is to have someone gloat to your face.  In this way siblings are often each others’ best teachers.



Stress to Resilience for Youth, Free Download Cover Mockup

Learn to Help Your Teen Build Resilience​

Help the teen in your life walk through adversity with strength. Download this free PDF to learn the three steps to go from stress to resilience for youth!


How Can I Help?

A Little Bit About Dr. G

A widely recognized media personality, Dr. G is your go-to expert on resilience. Countless broadcast outlets rely on her contagious humor and illuminating stories to tackle tough topics. She is regularly seen on TV, as well as interviewed for print and digital outlets. Here, she’s answering your questions. Search for the answers you need, or ask her your question now!
Scroll to Top

A Newsletter All About Resilience

Sign up below to join Dr. G’s newsletter and discover how to ‘Do Stress Better’ and tap into the resilience that already exists inside of you.

Ask Dr. G Your Question

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Book Dr. G

Let Dr. G know you’re interested in having her speak. If you’d like to send her a message click here.

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

After pressing submit your forms will be sent to Dr. G and her team. You can expect a response within 1 business day.

Media Inquiry Form

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Insights to Transform Your Stress Into Your Resilience​

Please let us know where to send the Stress to Resilience guide and we’ll send it quick!