Some suggestions for sibling fighting.
1. Don't take sides. This reinforces the belief about the need to compete. Treat children the same... see next few comments.
2. Say, "You can both go to separate rooms until you are ready to stop fighting." Be kind and firm (no yelling this) This can serve as a cooling off period when it gets out of hand. Children CAN"T think correctly when heated, just like adults can't. Our brains don't work when it is emotionally charged.
3. Give both of them a choice then. "You can either stop fighting or go outside and fight in the back yard. If you choose to fight, I won't be listening to it." Then if they refuse to go, gently guide them by the hand and put them in the backyard. Watch how soon they stop when there is no 'audience.'
4. It can be comforting to kids if you let them fight while you sit quietly nearby, trusting they 'can work it out' WITHOUT you. (This is super tough to avoid getting hooked into their drama) Some parents are even able to put their arms around both kids and say, "You know you love each other, I love you too, good luck!"
5. If kids are fighting over a toy, remove the toy from both, even if you think one is deserving of it. Let them know they can have it back when THEY work out their problem and play with it instead of fighting. Kids as small as 2/5yrs and up can do this process.
6 Sometimes kids fights are a way to play with another. Think of them as cute little black bears. (expecially boys) let them tussle as long as they are not in danger or wrecking stuff. (outside is a good spot)
7. Put all the fighters on the couch and tell them they have to stay there until they give one another permission to get off the couch and try again. I love this one! This distracts them to work on cooperation instead of fighting. Totally funny to watch stubborn kids sit there.
8. Send those with conflict to a room with the instructions that they can come out as soon as they worked out their situation, but you don't want to listen to the fighting. Always remain quiet, calm and firm. mean what you say, gently help them to the room.
9. Leave the room yourself. Believe it or not, a major reason kids fight is to get YOUR attention. good or bad, they crave it. Kids wants you to side with them, feeling important.
10. Interrupt the fighting to ask if one of the participants would be willing to put the problem on the 'family meeting agenda' to work on it. (especially if this is an ongoing problem.) A 3 - 5 year old can handle this.
11. If real danger is imminent (rock throwing), keep your mouth shut and act~ Move quickly to stop the rock throwing. Then use any of the above approaches.
12. Use your sense of humour early on and play Pig Pile. When you see kids fighting, wrestle them to the floor and say, "Pig Pile." This is an invitation for everyone to playfully climb on a the pile and see who can end up on top. This can become a fondly remember family tradition.
They are just kids and learning everyday who they are.
The best help is preventative measures.
1. Supervise and distract.
2. Get them engaged in cooperative games.
3. Keep them busy in sports and other activities, sometimes fighting is due to boredom.
4. Be silly, don't get too serious.
5. Talk about it at family meetings if it is a reoccurring problem.
6. Never compare your children, especially around them.
7. Use the 'candle story' to show them how you love them all the same and you have enough love to go around. Take out your candles and light one. say, "this is me, I have lots of love in this flame... then proceed to light your other candles and as you light them, say this is 'daddy' and light it and say see I can share my love with him and I still keep love for myself... keep lighting up 'family members' and show them you have 'enough love to go around and your candle still burns!'