Tell them that from now on, they are responsible for solving their problems. If they get you involved by complaining, tattling, or creating a loud ruckus that attracts your attention, both of them will sit in separate chairs, in separate areas of the house, for one hour. That’s the “warning shot” across the bow. The second such offense on any given day results in both of them being confined to separate areas of the home for the rest of the day and early bedtime. In that event, make sure that the separate areas are equally boring. Must be fair, you know.
Done consistently and dispassionately, that will motivate them to solve their problems without involving you. This plan may also greatly improve their relationship (not right away, mind you, but eventually) because it requires them to cooperate and collaborate. In effect, you become the villains, and their job is to keep you off their backs.
A more peaceful home is just around the corner.
Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parents’ questions on his website at www.rosemond.com.