Sibling Rivalry – What It Means And How To Deal With It

Sibling rivalry is something that exists in families where there are more than one child though people who are single children themselves, can never relate to this as they always long for a brother or sister. Simply put sibling rivalry is the rivalry that springs between siblings. While this by itself may not be such a big issue, it can make things difficult for the parents to handle especially if both of them are individuals who have a busy life.

sibling rivalry

What Could The Typical Signs Of Sibling Rivalry Be Like?

Actually, when it comes right down to it, sibling rivalry could manifest itself in many forms, which could include:

One-upmanship: One of the ways that sibling rivalry can manifest itself is in the form of one sibling trying to prove that the he or she is better than his or her sibling is. While this by itself may not seem all that harmful, it can lead to an unhealthy competition between the siblings. This in turn, can result in one of the kids feeling that they do not measure up when compared to their sibling. In some cases, it can lead to aggressive behavior, which can go to the extreme.

Open animosity:  In some cases, the older sibling may even resort to open animosity and try to cause bodily harm to the younger sibling. This kind of animosity can be amusing to start with as you watch the two siblings have their squabbles in the beginning,  but as time passes you will realize that this open animosity is only resulting in making things worse for all family members.

Small pranks: Another way in which sibling rivalry manifests itself is in the form of pranks. One sibling who feels that the other sibling has intruded in his or her life, may take to playing pranks. The reasons for this are two-pronged; one is getting back at the sibling for coming into his or her life and the other is to seek attention, which the sibling may feel that they are not getting from his or her parents.

Teasing: While we all feel teasing is a way of interaction that is harmless, one needs to look at the foundation of the teasing. In some instances, teasing can go beyond good natured ribbing and on to the realm of taking digs at the other person. When this happens between siblings, this can result in more and longer lasting harm than you thought possible.

mother talking to children

What Are The Roots Of Sibling Rivalry?

There could be many reasons that resulted in sibling rivalry, we give some below:

A feeling of insecurity: When there is a child at home and another one is born, the older child starts feeling insecure due to the entry of the younger sibling. This feeling of insecurity is completely irrational and has no basis in logic but for the child in question it seems really real. Since the dynamics of the whole family setup have changed due to the entry of the new child, the older child starts feeling resentful towards the child giving rise to sibling rivalry.

Excess possessiveness: Most children have this sense of owning their parents and when a new child is born, the older child feels that they have lost their sole possession of their parents completely or partly to the younger child.  This makes the child resentful and becomes a form of sibling rivalry.

Competitive instinct: Most children are competitive whether they know it or not and the feeling that they have lost the competition in terms of attention and affection of their parents to their younger sibling converts into sibling rivalry.

Divided attention: Some children feel that since they are the first born it is their right to get the complete attention of their parents. When a younger child is born, they can feel the division of the attention in favor of the younger child and this also results in sibling rivalry.

The thing is, though sibling rivalry in most brothers and sisters is normal, the onus is on the parents to ensure that this does not result in long lasting damage to the children. You definitely do not want your children to looking back at the past and that too with regret.

happy siblings

Here Are Some Things That You Can Do To Ensure That All Is Well And The Effects Of Sibling Rivalry Are Minimized:

Teach your child the value of sharing things, your attention and become a kind and generous person.

Talk to your child about the arrival of the newborn and prepare him or her to be an eager participant in the care of the child.

Make your child aware of the fact that the newborn is a friend who will enrich his or her life and not there to take things away from them.

Pay attention to the older child too so that he or she does not feel left out.

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