When it comes to sibling relationships, Karen and Deon Derrico have a front row seat to the good, the bad and the ugly. The parents of 14, who star in TLC reality series Doubling Down with the Derricos, have children ranging in age from 2 to 16 and say when it comes to making sure their kids learn to fight fair and resolve conflict properly, their biggest focus is teaching their crew that family is the first — and most important — team they'll ever be 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. "And it starts in your home: having open communication and talking about their problems with love and support."
Deon Derrico adds that while he and his wife try to be supportive parents, at the end of the day it's what they say that goes.
"It is what we say and how we say it," he says. "Everyone has to take part as a team in effort to move forward in life. We want everyone to get along and hold their 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 teaches them understanding of the world outside of the home as well. We give them parables about basketball teams or cheerleading squads and how they work together."
Raised by a single mother who rarely got involved in disputes between himself and his brother, Deon Derrico also says his mom "didn't want to take sides" when he was growing up.
"She didn't want to intervene and thought it would resolve itself," he recalls. It often didn't.
Now, he sees himself as a referee who needs to take sides in order to teach his kids important lessons. "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."
"They have to be shown this as a family," he adds. "This teaches them how to overcome obstacles as well."
But when it comes to their own teamwork, how do these busy parents split the household duties? "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.
And what about date nights? Whether parents have two kids or 14, the Derrcicos's nightly routine is proof that those quiet moments are few and far between for all moms and dads.
"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 3rd season, and airs on TLC.
Want lifestyle and wellness news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Life’s newsletter.