05/04/2011 18:30 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Expert Advice: How Do I Stop My Children Bickering?

In the first of a new series, Parentdish puts your questions to the experts at Family Lives:

My 10-year-old and six-year-old girls bicker non-stop. I'm dreading more of the same throughout the summer holidays and it makes me sad that they don't get on better. What can I do to help them have a better relationship?

If we can ignore the behaviour we do not want and give attention for the behaviour we do want, we often see more of the positive behaviour.

If you can, leave them to sort things for themselves, while still acknowledging what is going on. For example, "I can see you are both cross with each other. I am sure you can sort this out and have a nice time."

If they need help, ask them what they could do to sort things out without arguing. Give suggestions if they have none of their own.

If they are not going to play together, without bickering, acknowledge this. "I can hear that you two cannot get on together today so please play separately"

Don't insist on sharing – allow them their own space and belongings

Children are different – different characters, different ages, different likes and disikes. Reassure them you love them for who they are, never in comparison to each other.

Try to give each child individual attention.

Family Lives is the leading national charity providing help and support to anyone caring for children – parents, grandparents, step-parents, relatives – for families living together as well as apart.
0808 800 2222 , free from landlines and most mobile networks.

If you have a parenting worry, and would like a published response from Family Lives, please email with Family Lives question in the title.