Share the love around
Make sure you give your children equal love, time and affection to avoid making one feel less valued than another, or unintentionally kick-starting that awful sibling rivalry. If you sit in on your daughter's dance classes each week, for example, it's also important that you cheer on your son at his weekly sports games. Allow all of your children equal opportunities to achieve goals, invite friends over and participate in activities.
Respect their different needs
As important as it is for your children to all get along and join in on family activities together, you also need to respect their personality and age differences. If there are significant age gaps between your kids, don't expect them to all want to do, eat and get involved in the exact same things. Older teens need their privacy and time out with friends without having to include their younger siblings, while the little ones should also have the chance to enjoy age-appropriate activities and celebrate occasions like Christmas and Easter, which the older ones may have grown out of and consider "childish."
Set clear rules about what kind of behaviour is acceptable and what isn't in your family home. For example, physical violence and swearing may be no-nos, and your children should be aware that if they break these rules there will be consequences. You can also try involving your kids in the rule-setting so that they feel more accountable and agree on the family's rules and penalties.
Don't use empty threats
Ensure that you always carry out the punishments that you've set (within reason), without bending the rules for one child or another. If your children are teetering on the edge of breaking minor rules, like starting to bicker in the backseat or argue over TV channels, give them a few light warnings before you take action.
If your family is in the kind of environment that may spark sibling fights, such as a long roadtrip, take the opportunity to restate the rules from the outset and remind them of the punishments if they misbehave.
Take it in turns
The easiest way to avoid sibling arguments is to set up a system that organises who gets to choose the TV show or take out the rubbish. Take turns and set rosters so that privileges and responsibilities are shared and fair on all of your children.
Reward good behaviour
Just as important as it is to carry out punishments for children who misbehave, it's also vital to show how much you appreciate their good deeds. A hug, a few kind words or even a small reward can have a long-lasting effect and help reinforce positive behaviour.
Change the environment
If your kids' fighting is getting out of control, you can try setting a time-out where each child has to go to their own bedroom or at least leave the current environment so they can calm down and think about the issue. The goal is that they'll come back with a clear head and talk about the problem without having to resort to violence or name-calling.
Stay out of it
Sometimes as a parent you simply need to take a backseat and let your kids work out the conflict by themselves. Of course, if the fighting is getting heated, is about a major issue or is unresolvable, then you may need to step in and sort things out.
Be a good role model
Practise kindness and patience in your dealings with staff, strangers, friends and family (especially your partner!) so you act as a positive role model for your kids.