Karen and Deon Derrico can see all the good, the bad, and the ugly in sibling relationships as the parents of 14 children.
The pair, who star in the TLC reality show Doubling Down with the Derricos, have kids ranging in age from 2 to 16. They say that when it comes to teaching their kids how to fight and solve problems, their main goal is to show them that their family is the first and most important team they'll ever be a part of.
'It's so important for your children to learn how to communicate, how to resolve conflict and how to love each other, ' Karen Derrico tells Yahoo! Life. “You start at home. Love and support them as they talk about their problems in an open way.”
Deon Derrico says that even though he and his wife try to be supportive parents, in the end it's what they say as parents that matters. “What we say and how we say it is important, because everyone has to take part as a team in effort to move forward in life. All of us want to get along and hold our own.
'”Everyone must understand the connection to the bigger picture,” he adds. “Everyone has to take part in this team effort, and we have to work as a family. It also helps them learn about the world outside of their home.” As part of their lessons, they give the kids stories about how sports teams and cheerleading squads work together.
Deon says he was raised by a single mom who intervened in fights between him and his brother, not wanting to take sides when he was a child.
“She thought it would resolve itself,” he remembers. It sometimes didn't.
It's now clear to him that to teach important lessons to his kids, he needs to take sides. “We make it a point to let the kids know who's right or wrong,” he shares. “We teach them how to properly resolve an issue. We say who's right and who's wrong and then have them join in with us and figure it out. We do that to teach them how to properly resolve issues just in case we are not around.”
Deon believes that his kids "have to see this as a family." He says he teaches them how to overcome obstacles as well.
Then, when it comes to their own work, how do these insanely busy Mom and Daddy divide the housework?
“With 14 kids, we had to know how scheduling works in our household,” says Karen Derrico, explaining that they rely heavily on calendar apps and a lot of communication to manage daily tasks like medical appointments, home schooling and mealtimes.
In the midst of all that, do the Derricos ever have time for each other, a la date nights?
"We get it when we can to be honest," says Deon Derrico. "With numerous doctor visits and grocery runs, our downtime is in the evening. We sit and watch television, usually the nightly news, and we then drift off to a nice pleasant sleep."
Doubling Down with the Derricos is now in its third season on TLC.