When our first 4 boys were young, ranging in age from 10 to 5, I was going insane every day with the constant bickering, fighting, and hurting. It seemed like my boys were constantly fighting. Watching my boys fight instead of being friends tore me up.
Here's a photo from around that time frame, 2002ish. (It's hanging on my wall and I can't find any other copy of it, so this is a picture of the photo!)
One day I got a great tip and it made all the difference.
The tip was to create a way for the boys to do something to "make-up" to the offended brother. And not just tell them what to do to "make-up" for their actions, but have them come up with the ideas they could use when it was time to do a "make-up".
So, we sat down one night as a family and wrote down a bunch of things we could do for someone we hurt. They were things like:
Do one of their chores.
Write a note of apology.
Give a hug.
Make their bed.
Draw a picture.
And so on. Then I wrote these ideas on slips of paper and put them in a cup. This would be our "make-up cup".
The results were amazing! Now, Mom and Dad were no longer the only means of discipline, the "make-up cup" was the decision maker. The boys were serving each other, which helped them feel more love for one another. MAJOR parent tip: doing what you can to encourage your kids to serve each other is the BEST way to reduce sibling rivalry and foster love and friendship with each other. If you're a Christian, you'll love this article that speaks about siblings serving each other.
I can't remember how long we used the "make-up cup", but there came a point where the offenses were very few and far between and eventually we didn't need the "make-up cup".
I still have that cup. It's a Tupperware cup with Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger depicted on it. I'm sad to say the slips of paper have long since been thrown away, but here's a picture of our "make-up cup." I will always be grateful for the "make-up" tip and hope it can help reduce stress in your home with fighting siblings.