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Q&A: My Daughters Fight Over Clothes

Q. My 14-year-old daughter always takes her 16-year-old sister's clothes without asking, which invariably causes major drama. Should I set a punishment or just stay out of it?

A. Sisters should be able to borrow each other's clothes. That said, there have to be ironclad rules. They have to ask permission and respect the answer if it's "No." If the reply is "Yes," then the borrower has to return the clothing in the same condition as it was received, within an agreed-upon period of time. If it's stained, she has to do everything in her power to fix the problem, like take it to the dry cleaner and pay for cleaning. If the clothing is irreparably damaged, then it must be replaced within one week. That's the system. Your job is to remind both parties about the rules and enforce them when necessary.

Originally published in the October 2007 issue of Family Circle magazine.

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