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Sibling Harmony: Help Your Kids Get Along

Sibling Annoyances

Sibling rivalry: My daughters had a pretty solid relationship until recently. Now the 14-year-old is always shooing the younger one away; she in turn seems to be doing everything to make her older sister crazy, like borrowing clothes without asking.

Sibling revelry: "The teen years are a high point for conflict, especially with girls," explains Stark. Big sis is trying to establish an identity outside the family. Little sis is desperate to win back her sister's attention, even if it's by driving her nuts.

Calling a family meeting when tempers are somewhat cool gives you an opportunity to help each girl understand what the other is feeling, says Faber. Sit the kids down, acknowledge there's a problem, and allow each girl the chance to air her gripes without interruption. Then they have one shot at rebuttal.

If your younger daughter's response to her big sister's complaint is along the lines of, "I take her clothes because hers are way cooler than mine, and I bug her because she's always ignoring me," run with something positive. Point out that it sounds like she is missing her sister and also really likes her taste in clothes. "We can all forgive a lot of things in someone if we know she likes things about us," says Faber.

Brainstorm solutions -- like going shopping together and not entering each other's rooms uninvited -- then meet in a week to check on the situation. And, in the meantime, let your older daughter have some space while you devote extra time to the younger one.