One of our family goals is to foster Love for each other. Isn't that why we have families? Around here that often translates into refraining from killing each other off before bedtime. Or, in some cases, before breakfast. Sometimes we wonder how successful we've been in teaching the kiddos this concept. We've had our share of name calling, cat fights, and law enforcement events. A while back, the kids were involved in a knock-down drag-out fight right in the temple parking lot. At issue was who got to sit in the front seat on the ride home. Obviously, important topics like that generate a lot of emotion!
We've been known to get pretty creative when it comes to teaching the concept of brotherly (and sisterly) love. When tempers flare and words start flying out of control, the guilty pair often get to finish their "discussion" out on the front lawn - regardless of the time, the outdoor temperature or even what they happen to be wearing at the time! Amazing how quickly those discussions end.
Sometimes we add extra chores to whomever is "the next one to speak." We get lots of work done around the house that way. (Though egging them on actually has the opposite effect; they simply won't argue when I dangle such pleasantries as, "I need the kitty litter box changed, don't you have something to say to each other?")
Many times we haven't allowed the quarrelsome pair in the same or adjoining rooms for hours at a time. (Until they beg for us to let them "play" again.) And for years we staggered their wake-up calls to avoid the inevitable hassles of getting ready at the same time in the morning.
Once, when they were younger and the usual techniques didn't quite cut it, we resorted to tying their wrists together and waiting until they could cooperate cheerfully for a certain amount of time. It took over an hour. Eventually, they ended up laughing themselves silly.
At some point in time, we know they'll enjoy being with each other. There are glimpses of it now and then: invitations to join in on a coveted activity; asking the other's opinions about a new purchase; silence when a certain sibling starts in on a boisterous rendition of "Roll on Columbia..." Well, the silence doesn't necessarily mean approval, more likely that everyone's mouths are full at the moment...