We have five daughters. The older three- ages 7, 5 and 4, are constantly yelling at each other and getting very upset when they are asked to do anything or they get caught doing something they shouldn't (our 5 year old has taken to dumping food on the floor and then stepping on it).
Let me get a few things out of the way first---
1) We're aware this is our fault. Where we haven't been screaming at them or hitting them we still haven't been the most engaging of parents since the twins were born in the summer of '09.
2) They are not physically abusive towards each other. They don't even call each other names. They just have little to no patience for each other or anything else for that matter. They yell at each other at the drop of a hat: "LILY, GET OUT OF MY WAY I'M WALKING HERE!" "MABLE, DON'T LOOK AT ME!" "OLIVE, I WANT TO PLAY WITH THAT!"
3) I know that sibling fighting is normal. I even know that yelling is normal. However this has gotten a bit extreme. From morning until night they are screaming at each other, throwing things in frustration and stomping off. Seeing them getting along is so out of place these days it startles me when I don't hear them fighting. And when I say extremem I mean it goes beyond the typical fighting and yelling. They are red in the face, teeth grinding, viens popping out kind of mad.
4) They treat us this way, too. They never say no to us but they yell at us like this in a "how dare you ask this of me!" sort of way. And though they don't say no to us they do completely ignore us once our backs are turned.
5) When we do catch them doing something they shouldn't there is no yelling, certainly no hitting, even before we can say anything they are in a fit of rage over it. They usually end up stomping off and then screaming and crying in their room even before we can utter a word.
So what we have been implementing is being more present, more actively involved. The twins are older, I'm hoping to wean them soon, so this is much easier to accomplish. Of course this is going to take time but the fighting still has not eased up. When we are together actively engaged in some activity it's hard to keep them from fighting like this with each other and with us but once that activity is over it's right back to it. Obviously we need more than just active play and craft time. My question for everyone here is some ideas on how to help them calm down and be more respectful to others. I feel that we have been flying by the seat of our pants for the past few years and need a refreshed course in GD and productive ways of communication and discipline.