Hearts at Home Workshop-On-The-Go: Sibling Rivalry

Dr. Todd Cartmell is a favorite Hearts at Home workshop speaker.  He’s the author of several books, including Project DadRespectful Kids, and Keep the Siblings-Lose the Rivalry.  Currently practicing in Wheaton, Illinois, Dr. Cartmell and his wife, Lora, have two sons.

Today’s Workshop-On-The-Go comes from Dr. Cartmell’s book Keep the Siblings-Lose the Rivalry.  In fact, we’ll be giving away two copies of the book today!  In a minute I’ll tell you how to enter the drawing!

First, let’s hear from Dr. Todd:

Getting My Kids to Get Along

Jack and Melanie, two normal elementary-aged siblings, used to fight a lot. By fight, I mean WWIII, nuclear arsenal, it’s-time-to-call-Jack-Bauer kind of fighting. When? Anytime. Where? Anywhere. Over what? It’s anyone’s guess.

The good news is that the fighting has stopped. Or at least it’s back into a “workable” range that most would consider normal for young kids. How did this happen? It must be a miracle of modern science.

Not really. Jack and Melanie’s parents just put a few simple steps to work in their family and stuck with it. The good news is that for three easy payments of $39.95, these steps can be yours. Just send your check to Todd Cartmell, Wheaton, IL. Or, if you keep on reading, I’ll give them to you for free.

Step One: Connect with physical touch.

Loving, warm physical touch is a great way to stay connected with your kids. When you give them lots of little hugs, squeezes, and high-fives, it reminds them that they are special and important to you. Why? Because they know that you didn’t have to give them a little squeeze; you did it because you wanted to remind them that you love them.

The magical secret is that when you do this with ALL of your kids a few times each day, they ALL start feeling like a special part of your family. And when your kids feel more connected to you, it will be easier for them to connect with each other. Or in other words, you don’t have to fight for attention when you already get lots of it.

Step Two: Require respect.

This is a big one. I call it the Family Respect Rule and it goes like this: “Everyone in our family needs to treat everyone else in our family respectfully. All the time.” While we will all break the Family Respect Rule on occasion, it sends the message of where the bar is set.

The reason for the Family Respect Rule is simple. Everyone in your family is valuable. And what do you do with valuables? You treat them with care and respect. Kid translation: When you use respectful words and actions with your siblings, your fun will go up. When you use disrespectful words and actions with your siblings, your fun will go down. Any questions?

Step Three: Have a regular family time.

A regular family time does two powerful things. First, it gives your kids some fun time together that is likely to be positive because you are involved in it also. Second, it is a great time for family discussions, spiritual devotions, and for practicing simple family skills.

For instance, you can practice how to have a positive discussion (using a tennis ball as a prop) where everyone keeps their comments short and listens when others are talking. You can show your kids how to think of a good idea when faced with a sibling problem, rather than just act on the first few bad ideas that pop into their heads (e.g., Bad Idea #1: Hit sister. Bad Idea #2: Kick sister. Bad Idea #3: Jump on sister, etc.).


Jack and Melanie are not fictional and they are not alone. Siblings can learn to get along and I know many that have. However, they did not learn to get along by accident. They had a mom and dad who used these three steps to teach them how to handle family situations in a respectful way. Now, these three steps are yours and you can begin to use them right away. Or, if you prefer, you can always call Jack Bauer.

Dr. Cartmell’s book, Keep the Siblings, Lose the Rivalry, contains fifteen Family Time Discussion Guides that will help you teach your kids valuable communication, problem-solving, and living-together skills that you can practice together in your family times.

Want to win a copy?  There’s one simple way to enter.  Simply comment on this post whether you know who Jack Bauer is.  Dr. Cartmell thinks most of you do…I, on the other hand, had no idea who he was.  I want to know if you do or not.  (If you receive my blog via email, you’ll need to click HERE to comment).

By the way you can find Dr. Todd on Facebook, too!


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85 thoughts on “Hearts at Home Workshop-On-The-Go: Sibling Rivalry

  1. The name sounded familiar, but i had to google him to figure it out. So really, i had no clue.

  2. Jack Bauer? Um. The guy from 24?

    Lord help us all if my kids start modeling their behavior after THAT guy…

    Sibling rivalry is a big issue around here. Right now, my basic strategy is to keep everyone apart as much as possible. The twins used to be best friends. Now they hate each other. Everything is a competition. They both get along great with the preschooler…it’s just the two of them in this epic war.

    I’m afraid of summer.

  3. Jack Bauer from 24….great show. Great Advice. I have children who constantly fight and i am almost in tears trying to figure out ways on how to handle or help them handle it to. I am so at the end of my rope.

  4. I did not watch 24, but I know who Jack Bauer is. Given his torture techniques, I’m fairly certain I would not want him handling my children’s disagreements, but next year I will be homeschooling, so who knows what kind of crazy I will be willing to let loose to keep the peace 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

  5. Jack Bauer is the main character from the TV show 24.

    I feel as though my kids bicker constantly! I would love this book!!


  6. Yes, I knew who Jack was (even though I’ve never seen the show)…. and double yes, I would LOVE a copy of this book as we attempt to help our 8 and 5 year old realize that they are on the SAME team! 🙂

  7. I watched 24 like crazy when my youngest was a newborn…1 episode on DVD was about as long as 1 feeding! 🙂 Now that newborn is 6 going on 16…

  8. I did not know who Jack Bauer was. I had to do a google search. We have five kids ranging in age from 18-7 and four of them are boys. The baby is our girl. There is never a quiet moment in our house but it’s not always fighting, just a lot of mouths! lol Getting the kids to respect each other is probably the hardest thing for us. Thanks for the tips!

  9. Have no idea who he is, but I will google him..:)..I would love to win the book..WWIII breaks out at my house often..kids, 10,6,3 🙂

  10. Love Jack Bauer!
    Love Dr. Todd!
    Love Jill!
    Love HAH!
    AND I’d love to win an awesome book! 😉

  11. I knew the name “Jack Bauer”, but couldn’t remember what show he was from…now that I see the others saying ’24’ I remember, though I’ve never watched it.

    I just did a blog post yesterday on my blog looking for advice to this issue…..my kids are terrible with bickering right now and I can’t stand it. Love these ideas!!!!

  12. I have no idea who he is but have heard the name and think that it is a TV character….but if he showed up today – I would not be able to tell you that it was him…lol! I would love to have this book – something MAJOR has got to give in our house with the sibling rivalry….it is crazy!

    I love your blog!

  13. I have no idea who he is? Don’t even show about the show! I guess I don’t watch much TV these days!

  14. Jack Bauer is from the tv show 24. It was too intense for me so I could not watch it.
    I would like to read the book as I believe the first two points are good tools to use. Funny how I keep being told that physical touch is a good thing to make myself do. For ALL my kids- even the teens and older ones beyond.

  15. I am an only child and the whole sibling rivalry thing is all new to me. I feel blessed that I have kids that do love each other but not every moment is perfect and really trying to figure this out and help support & encourage them as they grow up together.

  16. He’s the butt kicker from the show 24! I feel pop culture savvy today, which doesn’t happen often!

    • Stacy, you are obviously much more pop culture savvy than me! I didn’t know who he was!

  17. Never heard of him before, but I’m willing to have him come and live with us to stop the sibling rivalry 😉

  18. I have no idea who Jack is. It’s great to know that others do not know him either. I do know who Todd Cartmell is and that is great because he has great advise to use in all situations. I would love a copy of his book because I could use some help with kids that fight all the time.

  19. Dont have a clue us J B is, sorry. Thanks for the tips on siblings. This book would be great for my grandchildren.

  20. I have no idea who Jack Bauer is. My two little preschoolers fight a lot and I have been mulling over what to do, I would love some tips.

  21. I didn’t know him, but certainly can relate. The 5 years between my two children has created rivalry like I never imagined. The bickering is constant!

  22. I do NOT know who he is, but if his book will help me with the sibling battle between my two middle-schoolers, by golly send it on! I was praying like crazy for wisdom just this morning on how to deal with this exact issue. Not all prayers send me to my knees, but this one sure has, and on multiple occasions. Amazing timing for this post!

  23. Thanks for the great post! Exactly what I needed right now!! Amazing how that always seems to happen 🙂

    And yes – know and love Jack Bauer and 24 – my husband and I used to watch together until it started to make me too anxious and stressed me out…oh, yes, kind of like the feeling of dealing with my fighting kids! Was getting enough “live in person” that I didn’t need it on TV too!

  24. I know who Jack Bauer was the anti-terrorist agent on 24 played by Keiffer Sutherland. He used some pretty extreme tactics to gain compliance from people. I prefer the ones suggested in the article. As a Mom to four kids, I know how difficult dealing with sibling issues can be, but am always looking for a fresh perspective. Thanks for sharing this one.

  25. I kinda know who he is, but I don’t watch 24. I don’t watch much TV, unless you count PBS kids 😉 I would love to win the book. My kids are 5 and 3, and while they get along pretty well, I want it to stay that way as they get older! 🙂

  26. This past week, when my girls were off school for spring break, I felt like Jack Bauer from the show “24,” trying every single day to get two little girls (ages 6 & 8) get along! On Sunday, I had a little mommy melt-down when, 2 minutes into my shower, they started bickering again! With summer only 6 weeks off, I am suddenly SWEATING about the prospects of them home together, every day of the week. Just the girls and me. Hmmm…how’s that gonna work?

    I’ve tried lots of ideas for making peace, but the girls always seem to fall back into old habits. Right now, I would give my left arm for some fresh ideas!

  27. Although I never watched it, Jack Bauer was from “24”. Very interested in this book since my sister and I did not have a good relationship and I would like my son and daughter to enjoy being together.

  28. I have never heard of him (we don’t watch very much T.V.)…but, like everyone else, I would be blessed to win a helpful book! God bless.

  29. Kiefer Sutherland’s character on the show “24”–never watched a full episode, so that’s about all I know!

  30. I do not know who this Jack guy is. I haven’t watched t.v. for over two years now. Not from a conscience effort. But I had my third daughter about two years ago and amongst all the chaos, t.v. just doesn’t seem to make the priority list. Having three daughters though, makes this article VERY relevant in my household. Thank you for the words of wisdom and encouragement that it can get better with just a little effort!

  31. Yes, I did know the name. Only watched the show once but he’s sort of the new “John Wayne”.
    Anyway, this issue has just started to raise it’s ugly head and I definitely want to nip it now while we can.

  32. I had no idea who he was until I read the posts!

    I do have 3 children (7,4, and 2) who get along for 10 minutes and then it’s on to the sharing problems, fighting, she’s touching me business! I am actually nervous about the summer time, which is sad. The book would be wonderful to have! Thanks for sharing the info today.


  33. Unless its a trick question I know who he is.
    Thanks for the post and the giveaway!

  34. I do know who he is, although I never watched the show. This would be a great book to have. I have one beautiful daughter who is 3 1/2, going to China to get another beautiful daughter this summer, who is 2 1/2. Should make for interesting times coming at our house! Thanks for the book reference!

  35. Jack Bauer is a fictional tv character. Not sure if he is a good guy or bad guy though.

  36. All the other comments confirmed my hunch that Jack was from that TV show, but I can’ t say I’ve ever seen it.
    Sibling rivalry in our house is terrible. My husband and I joke that if we give the kids a choice on something, they will always choose opposites. Fortunately, we have older kids now who get along great, so we can say with confidence “This too shall pass”

  37. Yes, I know Jack Bauer is from 24 but I do not watch it. Don’t have much time for tv between the 5 and 6 year old boys and caring for my mom. Heard Dr. Cartmell at HAH a few years back and loved his talk. Great advice and I know this book is filled with his wisdom. I look forward to reading it soon.

  38. Yes! He’s the guy who always saves the day on 24. We never get to watch TV but someone lent us this series on DVD so we get to watch it sometimes after the girls (5 & 3) are in bed. Would love to read this book…sometimes my girls get along great, other times dealing with their rivalry is the hardest part of parenting for me.

  39. Do not know who Mr. Bauer is, but did grow up with a Bauer’s Market that had a walk-in cooler that we loved to pick out our favorite pop from especially on a hot summer day. We would take as long as Mom would let us!

  40. Jack Bauer is a fictional character on the tv show 24. I would love to read this book! Any hints and tips to diminish the rivalry are welcomed.

  41. He was or is on 24. 🙂 Honestly, desperately need this book. Things are terribly out of control between our two boys – ages 11 and 9.

  42. Jack who? I googled him, but it didn’t help. But I do like Todd and his parenting tips! I’m hooked on his “Quick Listening” tips!!!

  43. I know he’s a character from a tv show ’24’. I never watched it, but my husband did; hear it was intense!

  44. Loved Jack Bauer on 24. I would love to win this book. I have 4 girls, but my older two (ages 10 and 8) can’t be in the same room for one minute without fighting. I think they’ve actually perfected the art of fighting without words, only mean looks. She looked at me the wrong way, she breathed on me, you get the point. I’d love to keep them, but lose the rivalry.

  45. Since he’s not on PBS, I haven’t had much of a chance to watch the show but did recognize the reference. Could have definitely used this book this morning as we were getting ready for school – and the morning before that, and the morning before that . . .

  46. Jack Bauer is the character from my husband’s favourite show, 24. It was a bit much for me, but he loved it. I’m not sure if it’s Jack Bauer we need around here (maybe I should ask the neighbours), but when my 6 go at it, we need something. It makes my head spin!

  47. Hmmm… My sister and me used to fight all the time even at the most tiny thing. I, for one, know that my little sisters attitude can’t go on. She is honestly a brat and feels that the world revolves around her and when she makes mistakes she isn’t reprimanded by my parents. I am so thankful that my parents never have too many problems with me. But, really, my parents won’t do anything about it and I’m afraid that she’ll end up falling on sh*t. She’s still a teenager and I want her to be smart at her age and be responsible, but how could I trust her?

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