I have to be careful here I don't want to identify myself any more than I have to.
My children have a very difficult relationship with each other. Their father was, and probably is, a total horror. Violent to me and occasionally to them and alcoholic, to my eternal shame I continued with the relationship with him until they were in their mid teens. I think my self esteem had reached such a low point I feared I couldn't cope on my own.
Scroll on 20+ years my fear is that when I die these two middle-aged people will never have even a civil relationship again, and it really upsets me. I'm not planning to die just yet!! but I feel I'm the only person insisting they meet at Christmases, birthdays etc. They don't row just niggle at each other but it can get nasty - sometimes I feel they blame me for everything that happened, other times I feel they compete for my attention. I adore them both but my daughter was her dad's special one and I tried so hard to make my son feel loved. At times they've buddied up to have a right go at me and I feel so guilty I just take it.
HI, I do understand the life you had with your husband. but why are you blaming your self for the way things turned out. as far as can see it seems you stuck it out for as long as you could. maybe you thought he would change.but at least you got out.if he would have treated you the way he should have, then you would have still been together. but while you keep blaming yourself what have you been showing your children,that your to blame. because you took the blame.your children are old enough to know the truth an will remember most of what he put you all through.your children are adults an make up there own minds,if they want to bicker at each other then let them get on with it. sooner or later they will sort there differences . but in the mean time you need to get together with them an let them know you are not to blame for what there farther did, an you don't appreciate that they join forces an blame you. an stop blaming yourself, be proud of how far you have come. hope every thing works out for you.
You're coming from a tough place, we all want our children to have a strong relationship with each other, that's just a given. What I would suggest is when you are all together, to state quite plainly that it hurts you to see that they do not have the kind of relationship you would like, that you love them both very much and you understand there are still issues arising from their difficult childhood. Ask them if they would go to Alanon with you, it's an offshoot of Alcoholics Anonymous, for the families of alcoholics. If they do not want to go, try it yourself, you will be surrounded by people who understand, who have been where you are. Their support just might give you the tools to start repairing this. Good luck. It's important.
You are not to blame for your children fighting with each other. Sounds to me that you made the best you could out of a very bad situation. Remember, what you saw, they probably did too, so I'm sure they must know that you're not to blame.
When my two kids fought...I used to remind them that they are the only two people who know how the other grew up, and that they shared the same past, good and bad. All siblings have disagreements, but as long as they get over things and remember what they both mean to each other that's all that really counts. No one else in the world knows you better than your siblings!
I think I've been lucky in that way as my son and daughter have always been the best of friends and still are in their late 20s.
I think its partly due to my daughter having a really caring nature and was very protective of her "little brother" when they were growing up.
From our part, we have never treated them as children, more as young adults whos opinions were treated seriously and would never use any form of corporal punishment. If they did anything they shouldnt, we would demand an explantation why they did it and we would discuss it as if between adults. They respected this and we rarely had any problems. It was how I was raised and I think children hate being talked down to, hit or ignored; also it can be much more difficult for a child to explain their wrongful actions than taking a slap!
I'm one of those children you talk about. I grew up in a large family, 14 siblings, and as long as our parents were alive we were a close family. But it seemes as soon as my parents died (one shortly after the other), the whole family just separated and went their own way and stopped caring about one another, stopped contacting one another, and made no effort whatsoever to have a relationship with one another.

What I came to realize personally was that I didn't actually like my siblings, I had tolerated them for my parents sake, and I suspect my siblings felt the same way about me. Fast forward, 13 years later and I have had no contact with any of my siblings for many many many yrs. It's a source of heartbreak for me at times when I think about it, but then I just push it out of my mind and don't think about it anyone.

I know if my parents were alive this would never have happened, they'd just not allow it. They'd do what you do, make the effort to get us all together on special occassions, and make sure we stayed together as a family. BUT, the reality is, your children have become adults, and as they have grown and developed into adults they have become individuals, with their own thinking, their own feelings, their own likes and dislikesm and their own ideas about what constitutes a good person, a good relationship, etc. And they also come to a point in their lives where they make the choice not to have someone in their life that they don't feel enhances their life in some way. They show up for special occassions because they don't want to hurt their parents. BUt the reality is, inside, they likely just don't wabt each other in their lives.

That may not be what you want to hear, but, keep in mind, you raised them to be self thinkers, to be individuals, and that is exactly what they are doing now, they're exercising their individuality and their choices in life. Ask yourself this: would you rather have your children in each others lives and have them miserable and unhappy, or would you rather have your children happy and content. If given the choice, of course you'd want both right, your kids to have each other in their lives and t be happy, but sometimes that's not always possible, so the next best thing you can hope for is that they be happy and content in life, and if that means not having a close relationship with their siblings then that's ok, is it not?

I know if my parents were alibe they'd want to see us all as one big happy family. And deep inside me if I could, I'd rather have a goood relationship with my siblings. BUT, the reality is, I know, from past experience that having my siblings in my life brings enormous amounts of stress, pain, and heartache, and that's harder to deal with than the loss of them.

There's come a point in life I think when we have to make hard choices, and sometimes that means letting go of someone who may not be a positive addition in our lives. As a parent I'm sure that hurts you deeply. But the only way you could ever control that is to keep them as 5 years olds for the rest of their lives.

One thing that may help would be for you to chat with each of them individually and try to get a sense as to what bugs them about one another....and help each individual see the good in one another, the good that you see as a parent. Maybe if you're able to shed some different perspective on things for them, they may find reasons to be more tolerant of one another in the future and more tolerance can often lead to more closeness between them.

Telling them to just stop their fighting or to "get along" likely won't do anything to help, will probably make things worse. But helping each of them see how the other one can be helpful and and a positive addition in their lives might give them something to ponder.
I came from a very dysfunctional family. My so called mother was a very evil person that even taught my siblings to abuse me like she did. My so called father was an alcoholic that kept his head in the sand and never once tried to protect me from any of the abuse. Both of my nasty parents are long gone and needless to say I am not close at all to my siblings due to their immature behaviours. Sad for their sake they can't grow up and learn to respect everyone.
I see I'm not the only one with these kink of problems! I have 3 adult children, one with autism. my other two children get along great but don't have any relashionship with their autistic brother. It was difficult growing up with him, specialy for my daughter who was the youngerst and of course her brother due to his problems got a lot of attention and she still resents him for it!  jim is very smart and talkative, but he's still left alone. he's in a hospital now where he has been for 3 years, but they rarely see him or even talk to him on the phone! I see him 3 times a week. we're looking for a placement for him, but we're getting old, what's going to happen to him when we're gone! I think about that all the time and I worry! why does it have to be so much rivalry between siblings, I was an only child and I wished so much to have brothers and sisters! I think the greatest gift is to give, to bring comfort to someone less fortunate than you! unfortunately, that, it seem is not too realistic!
As I have read all your postings and feel a sense of sadness :( , I am inclined to say I have come from an abusive family too. I am from 7 children and not one sibling talks to each other. They are still alive as I know but will not bother phoning, writing absolutely nothing transpires. I have made efforts but to no avail so I have given up. I too do not want my identity to be known here. My parents are deceased over 14 years ago so to be without them now is a way of life. When occasions roll around I escape particularly the Christmases so as to not think about my siblings. I do have a daughter and grandson who I love dearly and visit on the west coast. So every year I book my flight and head west. It was not easy growing up with 4 brothers and two sisters, we were not lovable and with good reason.>3 (this is suppose to be a broken heart).   My parents use to stir the pot with "gossip." If they had a concern with one of the children, the other would know about it. You couldn't go to them with the most delicate matters for fear that you would be discussed. They would provoke each other as though they wanted to see how we would react to information and then when we would react to it, it was as though they were happy to see us fighting and being on the outs. As a result we grew apart!  Even when my parents died, I thought we would reunite....but the damage was irrevocable. I live with the daily acceptance "that it is what it is."

Sometimes and it is only my opinion but when you have a big family and your one of the youngest, you get lost in the crowd. Seven was just too much so I can imagine coming from 14 children, WOW! It must of been rough or maybe not; but in my case a big family there is not enough attention to go around.

My mother wasn't an alcoholic and she would often say about her life: "Why didn't I die in my cradle, for alcohol was the cause of it all". 

I think many people choose to put a bandage on the problem and wish it away....it doesn't work. Like Graham mentioned you have to sit down and talk to your children as though they were adults, not talk down, nor hit or use corporal punishment as a means of getting their full attention because that only makes them more resentful, I lived by the hand but I am one of the lucky one's and recognized that if I vowed to have a family, I would take a more positive approach to my life.

For those of you who went through trying times; I am sorry for your pain and of course I have given up feeling sorry for me....it's useless energy! 
I totally understand the pain of family. I have 2 brothers. I'm the youngest. One brother married a nasty woman who wouldnt let his kids see their grandmother and I suspect was physically abusive. She prevented brother from contacting his family which is where I suspect more abuse. My other brother was ok until my moms health took a down turn. He doesnt like how she divided up the farm between us so now he blames me for that. Like I can force the lawyer to do what I want. They both expect me to care for my mom but have no time to help me with cleaning out the house or absolutely anything else. But when she goes into hospital or something, like the stroke she just had, they are here. But they try to visit without telling me. They dont want me to know. Even though i dont feel like i should bother with them, i keep them posted on her health. I drive an hour one way each week to see her. Sometimes 3-4 times a weekend when health issues arise. Every appointment i take off work and go. They barely call her once a month. After she is gone i will be done with them and dont have any desire of ever contacting them again.